In 2010, Location Canada magazine noted that Canada was the “home of Intelligent Communities.
” The publication quoted me as saying that the nation was developing an educated workforce, a collaborative attitude, and that its cities were reinventing themselves to compete in the new economy. At that time, Canada had 15 communities that had achieved Intelligent Community status. Today the number has risen to 21, the most of any nation. To put this in context, there are 126 “intelligent communities” worldwide.
And, for 2014, Toronto actually earns the top spot — becoming the third Canadian community in the past 15 years to be selected as the world’s “most intelligent,” joining Waterloo (2007) and Calgary (2002). Given the image Toronto has gained, courtesy of Mayor Rob Ford, some were surprised or disagreed with the choice made by 200 international judges and an independent research firm in India. Nonetheless, Toronto, with its diverse population, emerging waterfront development, and “cultural confidence” represented the best model of a forward-looking, balanced community. It also represented two things deemed vital to 21st century community success: the adaptation of information technology to the economic and social infrastructure and the assurance that despite political challenges a democracy must reinvent itself to function effectively.