4 Canadian communities named Smart21 Communities of the Year

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Last week, the Intelligent Community Forum announced the Smart21 communities of 2019, including four communities in Canada!

I’m proud to congratulate Abbotsford and Greater Victoria, British Columbia; Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario; and Winnipeg, Manitoba on being leading communities in smart city approaches.

The two communities in British Columbia are making their first appearance on the Smart21 list. This is Sarnia-Lambton County’s third time on the Smart21 list and Winnipeg’s seventh! Sarnia has never made it to the Top7 list, but Winnipeg did in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Neither have been crowned the Intelligent Community of the Year. Perhaps this is the year.

Four Canadian communities have received the prestigious title of Intelligent Community of the Year; Montreal (2016), Toronto (2014), Waterloo (2007), and Calgary (2002).

The Smart21 list is the first phase of the Intelligent Community Awards cycle. To make this list is already an honour. All the finalists will receive an invite to fill out a more extensive questionnaire, which will be studied by industry professionals for the Top7 selection. The questionnaire addresses opportunities, challenges, and results regarding smart city approaches.

“The Top7 represent models of economic and social transformation in the 21st Century,” explains the ICF website. “They are not the most advanced technology centers, the most wired cities or the fastest growing economies in the world. Instead, each exemplifies best practices in broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion and advocacy that offer lessons to regions, cities, towns and villages around the world. They are charting new paths to lasting prosperity for their citizens, businesses and institutions.”

In February 2019, the Top7 communities will be announced. From this point, the Top7 are further examined and are visited by an ICF co-founder. Then based on the questionnaire and visit to each community, the jury will vote on the Intelligent Community of the Year.     

Last year, Espoo, Finland won the Intelligent Community of the Year award, and the year before that Melbourne, Victoria, Australia took it home. I think Canada is due for another win. Best of luck to Abbotsford, Greater Victoria, Sarnia-Lambton County, and Winnipeg!

Campbell Patterson