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Newmarket unveils Ontario’s first Soofa bench at Riverwalk Commons
July 13, 2016
By Chris Simon

Fun in the sun may be one of the best ways to recharge your batteries - literally.

Newmarket unveiled its first Soofa bench, which is equipped with a solar-powered charging station for portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, at Riverwalk Commons Wednesday morning.

“Today, we celebrate yet another important milestone in Newmarket’s unique innovation and environmental sustainability stories,” Mayor Tony Van Bynen said. “As a key focus of our council, we will work together to revitalize and innovate Newmarket and will continue to seek opportunities to bring even more leading-edge technology and environmental sustainability programs and services to our community.”

This is the first Soofa bench in use in Ontario. The bench manufacturer has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the concept was on display at United States President Barack Obama’s White House Maker Faire in 2014.

Next year, the bench will have the potential to be upgraded with sensors and detailed analytics to measure usage. The sensors will also have the ability to measure busyness at Riverwalk.

Soofa benches are Edmonton and U.S. cities including Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Oklahoma City. Three other countries around the world also use the technology.

“Our main goal is to make cities better for people through the implementation of technology,” Soofa CEO Sandra Richter said. “To do so, we work closely with our network of partner cities to learn where the biggest opportunities are to innovate together.”

For more information on the bench, visit