For the second year in a row, the City of Toronto has been recognized as a global leader in using broadband infrastructure and information technology to create economic opportunity and enhance the quality of life for its citizens. Last week, Toronto was named by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) as one of the Smart21, which recognizes those communities that are equipped and prepared to prosper in the broadband economy.
The Smart21 recognition is the first step in selecting the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year. The award honours communities or regions with a documented strategy for creating local prosperity and inclusion using broadband and information technology that attracts leading-edge businesses, builds skills, generates economic growth, and improves the delivery of government services. Toronto will now compete to be one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities for 2014, an honour which it achieved in 2013 and 2005.
Toronto’s efforts are once again being spearheaded by Waterfront Toronto and its Intelligent Community initiatives, which leverage broadband technology to improve quality of life and create economic opportunity to increase the city’s competitiveness with major urban centres around the world for investment, jobs and talent. Waterfront Toronto has launched several Intelligent Community initiatives that are designed to enhance the lives of those who live and work in waterfront communities; among these are the creation on the waterfront of Canada’s first open-access, ultra-high speed broadband network offering industry-leading Internet connection speeds for a capped fee and neighborhood-wide Wi-Fi access. In partnership with IBM Canada and Element Blue LLC, Waterfront Toronto has established a powerful cloud-based community platform, www.newblueedge.ca, designed to use data to support smarter decision making for waterfront residents and businesses about everything from daily commute to health and wellness, energy and water use.
“We are honoured that Toronto’s new waterfront has once again contributed significantly to the City’s recognition as one of the Smart 21 for 2014. We are very pleased to support the next stage of this important international competition,” said John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto. “Our recent initiative to build a state of the art waterfront Innovation Centre is another example of our commitment to bring smart, next generation employment and research to the waterfront.”
The City’s application pointed to various digital inclusion initiatives, including the Kids@Computers and Connected for Success programs, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, and the Centre for Social Innovation. Also highlighted, as part of this year’s featured theme of the relationship between culture and the community, are the vibrant, multicultural characteristics of the City, as well as the many arts and culture attractions and events including the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Smart21 award was announced on October 21, 2013 at a ceremony hosted by Walsh University, the site of the inaugural Institute for the Study of the Intelligent Community. The Top 7 will be announced in January 23, 2014, and the Intelligent Community of the Year Award will be announced in New York City on June 6, 2014. For more information on the Smart21 award, please visit https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/.
Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum studies and promotes the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology. The Intelligent Community Foundation consists of 126 cities and regions that have been designated as Intelligent Communities and which participate in an ongoing global dialogue to strengthen local economies. For more information, go to www.intelligentcommunity.org
The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization. Waterfront Toronto is leading the way in developing new Intelligent Communities. Together with technology partners the agency is helping to develop communities where people can live, learn, work, and play in a seamless, technology-enabled environment.