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Vaughan becomes Canada's first Smart Gigabit Community

City is also home to Canada’s first smart hospital, which makes it "a great complement to other communities in the programme" says US Ignite.
April 26, 2019

Vaughan has become the first Canadian city to join the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Community Club (SGC) programme. US Ignite is a non-profit organisation seeking to accelerate the smart city movement.

Vaughan is situated north of Toronto and is the 17th-largest city in Canada by population; it was Canada’s fastest growing between 1996 and 2006.

With the announcement of Vaughan joining the SGC programme, there are now two communities outside the US (the other is Adelaide, Australia).

Smart city journey

Vaughan began its smart community journey in 2016 by becoming the second municipality in Canada to be platinum certified under the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 37122 (sustainable cities and communities).

“Vaughan is a great selection for us because [it is] committed to smart city success,” said Glenn Ricart, principal investigator for the SGC effort.

“For example, the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be Canada’s first smart hospital and feature fully integrated smart technology systems and medical devices. That makes it a great complement to our other SGC communities.”

"This new partnership will help Vaughan press ahead with our focused efforts to embrace the transformational benefits of smart city technology and initiatives"

In 2018, the council established the mayor’s smart city advisory task force. The group included citizens and accomplished professionals with extensive experience from industries such as healthcare, financial services and environmental sustainability.

Based on the task force report on 19 March 2019, Vaughan city council endorsed a resolution introduced by mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua to join the US Ignite SGC programme.

The task force becomes the Vaughan SGC steering committee, and the mayor has requested an update on their report that will form the basis for Vaughan’s SGC agenda.

“The city of Vaughan has now become the first Canadian municipality to have a seat at the table with this global working group,” added Bevilacqua. “This new partnership will help Vaughan press ahead with our focused efforts to embrace the transformational benefits of smart city technology and initiatives.

He continued: “Our shared efforts will turn challenges into opportunities by improving the way data is collected, understood and utilised to safeguard and elevate the quality of life for citizens and to enhance the delivery of public services people and businesses rely on each day.”

Digital garden project

Vaughan has also been active in Canadian-based smart city activities. The work undertaken by the task force led to a comprehensive submission for the city’s participation in the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge.

The submission calls for the use of smart city technology to create a “digital garden”. The garden concept is about breaking down barriers, improving social cohesion and enhancing engagement and civic participation through the creation of community kiosks, known as “local gardens”.

Kiosks would include Internet of things (IoT) sensors to gather data on traffic, parking and air quality; provide administrative city procedures, such as online payments and digital deputations; and offer a one-stop shop for government services, including service Ontario offerings, among other amenities.