OTTAWA – The Government of Canada has announced the winners of the Smart Cities Challenge and while eastern cities excelled, western Canadian cities did not make the final cut.
The big winner was the City of Montreal, which took the $50 million prize for its proposal to improve mobility and access to food for its citizens.
The City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ont. won $10 million for their proposal to create a circular food economy, and communities in Nunavut also won $10 million for a life promotion approach to suicide prevention. The Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia won a $5 million prize for a proposal to reduce energy poverty.
“Congratulations to finalists and winners of Canada’s first-ever Smart Cities Challenge. The work you have put into developing your proposals and to improving the lives of your residents is huge. You are all winners! Your efforts will benefit your communities, and also communities across the country who may be facing similar challenges. You are shining examples of Canadian ingenuity and innovations at its best and I am immensely proud,” Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Francois-Phillipe Champagne said in a statement.
The four cities will implement their approaches over the next five years and updates on their implementation will be posted on the Infrastructure Canada website.
Amongst the western Canadian entries were the City of Edmonton’s “healthy city” proposal, which aimed to combine data analytics and collaboration between public and private interests to improve health infrastructure.
Other applications included a proposal from Surrey, B.C. to create a closed loop waste management system to capture waste and convert it to biofuel to power city waste collection vehicles. Vancouver’s proposal would have expanded free Wi-Fi access throughout the city.
The Smart Cities Challenge was launched in November 2017 and 200 communities across Canada responded. Of the 130 applications received, 20 were selected as finalists on June 1, 2018 and received $250,000 in grants to further develop their proposals.
The final proposals were submitted March 5, 2019 and were evaluated and assessed by 13 Smart Cities Canada jury members.