Google Plans to Build High-Tech Neighbourhood in Toronto


Toronto’s waterfront is undergoing lots of development, but there’s still plenty of opportunities to reshape the areas located right by the lake.

According to a new report from CBC News, Alphabet Inc’s (Google’s parent company) urban innovation arm Sidewalk Labs responded to Waterfront Toronto’s request for proposal to build up Quayside. This is a new 12-acre community on the city’s eastern waterfront.

Google said that it wants to use technology to “fix” cities. For Toronto, this would mean tackling the city’s under-developed industrial waterfront. In a statement, Director of Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning Christopher De Sousa, said:

“Toronto has all of the conditions of being an innovative city that Google would be looking for could be the catalytic spark that the city needs to get them to act on this inactive and underdeveloped area once and for all. There has been disagreement about what to do with the area for a hundred years, whether it is residential or business-driven — a smart city would bring both employment and housing — and do it in a futuristic innovative pilot model.”

Just the premise of Google’s smart city is appealing, but when you think about the possibilities it truly becomes a dream. Imagine the potential impact of these new technologies on bringing high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, and ride-sharing. The vision also entails the potential of environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordability of housing.


  • Decodering

    The one thing that doesn’t get “fixed” that is almost always neglected is the affordability of the immediate neighbourhood and the impacts on surrounding neighbourhoods. That goes for both citizens and businesses.

    Parts of the GTA already seem exorbitantly expensive now? I’d be surprised Google’s smart city plans do anything to alleviate that.

    I know I sound anti-growth, but I’m not. (I work in urban sustainability.) I just like to bring up the issue as affordability almost always takes a back seat to other goals and life gets harder for a good amount of the population.

  • Riley Freeman

    you’re right. Toronto’s condo prices are absolutely ridiculous these days.