Toronto is about to become the tech capital of Canada in the next few years, and it's starting right now with Alphabet, the division of Google that focuses on urban innovation, has chosen Toronto to be its next big project.
The plan? To transform Toronto's east waterfront into a high-tech, futuristic neighbourhood using the most cutting-edge technology.
In other words, this piece of Toronto will be like nothing Canada - and perhaps the world - has ever seen. Choosing Toronto to make this vision a reality was no easy task for the Sidewalk Labs, the division of Alphabet responsible for this massive undertaking.
Their chief executive, Dan Doctoroff, was present at the city's "Quayside" announcement in Toronto on Tuesday, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne. He described how his team searched across the world for the ideal location to create a neighbourhood of the future.
It can be hard to imagine what this futuristic city will look like (flying cars perhaps?), but reports have suggested that Sidewalk Labs' vision includes autonomous buses, self-driving “taxi-bots” controlled by app services, and mass-produced homes. Robot vehicles that travel through underground tunnels would replace traditional garbage trucks for waste management. Streets could be lined with shields and even heated surfaces to promote non-transit forms of travel, like cycling and walking.
Part of their effort will be to help resolve common urban issues like commuting, inclement or cold weather (super relevant in this city), increasing cost of homes (hello, Toronto housing market), and social inequality due to lack of accessibility.
Ultimately, Sidewalk Labs' goal is to reimagine Toronto in a way that is efficient, forward-thinking and beneficial to its people and the environment.
Meetings for this new futuristic neighbourhood called "Sidewalk Toronto" begin November 1st, where the Sidewalk Lab team will be discussing plans for the project with the people and governments of Toronto.