On May 14, the federal government announced the first four winners of the Smart Cities Challenge. Our Cities for People initiative helped with the Challenge design — advocating for social innovation and community needs to be at the heart of the Challenge. The winning proposals — from Montreal, Guelph and Wellington County, several Nunavut communities, and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia — favour social belonging, ecological transition and Indigenous values.

 

The Smart Cities Challenge winners are:


City of Montreal, Quebec ($50M):

This project brings together city officials, community organizations and other partners to address systemic issues of urban life, with a focus on mobility and access to healthy food. The city proposes to improve public transportation by offering new and innovative forms of mobility that will improve access to local services and reduce the use of cars in the greater Montreal area. In addition, the project proposes to increase access to healthy food for vulnerable populations by using data to improve supply chain management and introducing urban greenhouses that will recover industrial heat from a local landfill site.

 

City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario ($10M):
Guelph/Wellington aims to become Canada’s first technology-enabled Circular Food Economy, reimagining an inclusive food-secure ecosystem that increases access to affordable, nutritious food by 50%, where “waste” becomes a resource, 50 new circular businesses and collaborations are created, and circular economic revenues are increased by 50%: 50x50x50 by 2025.

 

Nunavut Communities, Nunavut ($10M):

The communities of Nunavut will implement protective and preventative measures to reduce the risk of suicide in the region, which is ten times the national average, and increase the amount and accessibility of peer support networks, educational resources and creative outlets that promote positive Mental Health to all Nunavummiut.

 

Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia ($5M):

Bridgewater aims to lift its residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate by 20% by 2025. With $5 million in Smart Cities funding, Bridgewater will install sophisticated energy monitoring and communications equipment in over 1,000 low-income homes, develop a self-funding energy retrofit financing program, improve its transportation systems, and increase local clean-tech sector training and literacy.

 

The Smart Cities Challenge is a pan-Canadian competition that encourages communities of all sizes to harness the potential of connected technology and data to address the most pressing needs of their residents. More than 200 communities, large and small, from across Canada responded to the Smart Cities Challenge, which was launched in November 2017. Over the past year, 20 finalists have been working intensely with their residents and partners to turn their bold ideas into real, practical plans.  

The four winners will implement their smart cities approaches over the next five years. Updates on their implementation will be posted on Infrastructure Canada’s website, where their proposal summaries are currently posted so they can inspire communities across the country on their own smart cities journeys.