Toronto Named Intelligent Community of the Year

City named global leader in creating economic opportunity through broadband economy

NEW YORK, June 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Toronto has been selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), at its annual summit in New York.

The title is awarded to the community that best creates inclusive economic opportunity and improves competitiveness through the use of broadband and information technology to collaborate, innovate, attract investment, improve the delivery of government services and raise the quality of life for its citizens.   

"Toronto certainly earned its place as the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year," said ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla. "Toronto was selected because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its City Council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community. In our view, Toronto offers a glimpse of how to flourish in the new economy and of how to adjust to the changes of the digital era."

"This is a significant win for Toronto; one that recognizes the great efforts made in the city to work together on using information technology to create jobs, attract investment and make us more competitive," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. "The work of Waterfront Toronto to collaborate with government, businesses, and the education and research community is helping establish Toronto's waterfront as an example of how to use future-ready information and communication infrastructure to attract jobs and residents."

Toronto Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the City's Economic Development Committee, who is in New York as part of the City's delegation to the ICF Summit, said that the work done by Toronto to win this designation has one main focus: "Continued prosperity is our goal. We want to ensure that Toronto is seen as the best place in the world to live, work and play – for those of us who live there and for the many talented, hard-working and ambitious people around the world who are looking for that one place where they can find great opportunities and a great place to live."

Waterfront Toronto CEO John Campbell said the award shows how Waterfront Toronto and the city are doing the right thing. "Our investments in broadband and other infrastructure will support sustainable high-value economic growth. 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." 

"Cisco Canada was a proud supporter of the Toronto bid for the ICF Top Intelligent Community 2014," said Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale. "Cisco is committed to the future of Toronto. Toronto is home to our new Canadian headquarters and to our recently announced Internet-of-Everything Innovation Centre. Our partnerships with the City, universities and colleges, entrepreneurs, the Pan Am Games and private sector has us deeply rooted in the community. We congratulate Toronto on winning the ICF Intelligent Community award and are proud to be partners in all aspects of sustainable city making and business innovation."

"Toronto is one of the foremost cities in the world in which people want to work and live," said Invest Toronto President and CEO Renato Discenza. "Our diverse, multicultural and multilingual workforce keeps our city at the cutting edge of innovation. As a strategically-located global city in North America with a strong and stable economy, and a highly skilled talent pool that enjoys an outstanding quality of life, Toronto continues to excel as an attractive city for international investors providing opportunity for all."

"Cities represent tremendous engines for innovation and growth as young people, professionals and empty nesters reverse migrate to urban cores," said John Longbottom, Smarter Cities Leader at IBM. "The leadership behind the Waterfront Toronto initiative has demonstrated incredible foresight into harnessing the energy that is driving this renaissance. IBM is proud to have collaborated on Waterfront Toronto's bold vision to develop a vibrant community that leverages information provided by sensors, citizens and other stakeholders, coupled with new cloud, social business, mobile and analytics technology, to enable a truly unique urban living experience. We congratulate them on this much-deserved recognition." 

What's Behind the Win?

Toronto's efforts are once again being spearheaded by Waterfront Toronto and its Intelligent Community initiatives, which leverage broadband technology to create economic opportunity and 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:

The creation on the waterfront of Canada's first open-access, ultra-high speed broadband network, with Beanfield Metroconnect and Cisco, offering industry-leading Internet connection speeds for a capped fee and neighborhood-wide Wi-Fi access. In collaboration 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.

Toronto'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.

About the ICF and the Competition

The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community.  ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. 

The determination of the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year is a year-long process that starts with some 400 communities being nominated. The list is then narrowed down to the Smart21, the Top7 and finally the Intelligent Community of the Year through voting by an expert international jury. The process includes quantitative analysis of extensive data on each community and site inspections by co-founders of the Intelligent Community Forum.

The site inspection for Toronto stops focused on the city's successes in:

  • Building next-generation broadband infrastructure
  • Bridging gaps in Internet access through "digital inclusion" initiatives
  • Supporting the development and growth of a knowledge workforce
  • Facilitating innovation in multiple sectors, like government, education, science and technology
  • Promoting the ideals of the "Intelligent Community"
  • Cultural production and creation, including the film industry and vibrant culture of festivals and events

About Waterfront Toronto

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.

SOURCE: Waterfront Toronto

For further information: Media Contacts: Waterfront Toronto, Andrew Hilton, Director, Marketing & Communications, T 416 214-1344 x263, Mobile: 416-427-4613, E-mail: ahilton@waterfrontoronto.ca; City of Toronto, Shane Gerard?Senior Coordinator, Promotions & Communications City of Toronto, Phone 416-397-5711,?Mobile: 647-881-9854, Email: sgerard@toronto.ca

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