Pickering and Oshawa are among a select group of cities from across the globe recognized for creating a more connected, engaged, vibrant and sustainable community by leveraging the power of technology.
The City of Pickering was named one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum, a New York-based think tank and global network of cities dedicated to using information and communications technology (ICT) to enrich their quality of life.
The City of Oshawa was named one of the world’s Smart21 Communities in 2016.
The recognition acknowledges the investments both cities have made to support sustainable economic growth by fostering a culture of innovation.
“Pickering is one of the fastestgrowing communities in the GTA,” says Mayor David Ryan.
With the Province of Ontario’s recent decision to sell its employment and residential lands in the Seaton area adjacent to Highway 407, the city is set to attract 70,000 new residents and 35,000 new jobs over the next 15 years. “To attract the high-quality jobs to that area of our municipality, we recognized the need to be innovative in virtually everything we do,” says Mayor Ryan.
Some of Pickering’s smart initiatives include providing accessible and affordable Internet through an ambitious broadband implementation strategy, bridging the digital skills gap by providing free education through the Pickering Public Library Connects program, and developing a downtown core that will include an arts centre, an expanded seniors and youth centre, as well as residential and commercial developments.
Oshawa is also harnessing ICT to build a city of the future.
“We are committed to continuing down the smart city path,” says Kyle Benham, director of economic development for Oshawa.
Once reliant on the automotive industry, the City of Oshawa made a dedicated effort to transform its economy after the global recession of 2008. Benham says the city’s commitment to civic innovation and broadband connectivity have played key roles in moving the economy into knowledge-based areas including the health services and education sectors and advanced manufacturing.
“We predict another 20,000 to 30,000 people will move to Oshawa over the next five years,” says Benham. “Being recognized as a Smart Community signals that we’re able to attract very talented people who are going to be the employees of the future.”