It seems that no sooner do I write a blog about the many accolades Toronto has earned, than the City captures yet another! In early June, Toronto was selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) – a think tank that studies economic and social development in the 21st century. This ranking looks at communities that effectively use broadband and information technology to create economic opportunities and improve competitiveness through collaboration, innovation, attracting investment, improving delivery of government services and raising the quality of life for residents.
The win recognizes several initiatives spearheaded by Waterfront Toronto. These include teaming up with Beanfield Metroconnect and Cisco to create Canada’s first open-access, ultra-high speed broadband network on the waterfront, offering Wi-Fi access throughout the neighbourhood and unprecedented Internet connection speeds. Waterfront Toronto also collaborated with IBM Canada and Element Blue LLC to establish a cloud-based community platform that helps waterfront residents engage in smarter decision-making. Take a look at newblueedge.ca to see for yourself just how helpful it is for keeping track of everything from local events to traffic and more.
The award reflects other Toronto digital initiatives such as Kids@Computers and Connected for Success programs, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone and the Centre for Social Innovation, and even the Toronto International Film Festival, which highlights the relationship between culture and the community.
All of this adds up to increased competitiveness for investment, jobs and talent. About 400 cities were nominated for this honour, and an expert international jury analyzed the applications. ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla said it best: “Toronto offers a glimpse of how to flourish in the new economy and of how to adjust to changes of the digital era.”
Congratulations once again, Toronto. We really do live in the greatest City in the world!