Mississauga competes to be world’s most intelligent community

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Published October 19, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Mississauga from City Hall

Mississauga is competing with six other municipalities from around the world—including two in Canada—to be named Intelligent Community of the Year by a global think tank. 

The winner, to be chosen from a group comprised of Moscow, Curitiba (Brazil), Townsville (Queensland, Australia), Binh Duong (Vietnam), Langley Township (British Columbia), Winnipeg and Canada’s sixth-largest city, Mississauga, will be announced next week at the conclusion of a three-day virtual summit hosted by Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). 

ICF, a global network with a think tank at its centre, is hosting ICF Summit 2021: Communities on the Verge from Oct. 26-28. The organization connects hundreds of cities and regions on five continents for collaboration on economic development and for exchange of expertise and information that drives progress. 

In naming Mississauga one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities in July, the ICF described the city as “a suburb of Toronto, (but) a business and technology centre in its own right.” 

Its description of Mississauga continues, noting “the city grew into Canada’s sixth-most populous municipality in the second half of the 20th century as it attracted a large multicultural population around its thriving central business district. Mississauga is home to Canada’s busiest airport as well as many of the nation’s major corporations.” 

The ICF also takes note of Mississauga’s other attributes. 

Outside the business district, the city also has an impressive arts community and is home to many major festivals, including Carassauga, the second-largest culture festival in Canada. Many of these festivals take place in Mississauga’s Celebration Square, the city’s recently restructured and vibrant Civic Square. Mississauga began as a collection of many hamlets and villages, each with their own distinct cultural offerings, that have led to the city’s rich and diverse heritage and cultural offerings today.” 

ICF officials say the theme of this year’s summit, “communities on the verge,” is timely given that towns and cities around the world have found themselves in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic for some 18 months now. 

“Following the most disruptive year in modern history, communities are on the verge. Unforeseen challenges have shown the contrast between communities resilient enough to overcome them…and those that are falling behind,” officials say. 

“So where does your community fall? Are you on the verge of prosperity, or the verge of decline? With this year’s Summit, we look at communities that are proactive rather than reactive…communities that embrace people-centered progress. That are not only prepared for traditional challenges, but able reimagine themselves when new ones arise. Communities that will lead us all on the path forward. Communities that are not just smart…but are Intelligent.” 

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, City Manager Paul Mitcham and Director of IT Shawn Slack will present the city’s case on day two of next week’s summit, Oct. 27.  

The same day, Slack will be speaking at a workshop themed “Bringing Broadband to Your Community.” 

Last month, Mississauga presented the ICF judging panel with “74 Reasons Why Mississauga is the Top Intelligent Community.”   

City officials say those reasons range from activities and innovations that foster innovation, inclusion and transparency. 

Among Mississauga’s attributes, city officials identify the following: 

  • Canada’s most connected city with over 820km of fibre connecting 340-plus sites citywide, making the city attractive to new business 
  • access to free public Wi-Fi in 95-plus City facilities 
  • more than 500 connected MiWay buses to help people get around faster and more efficiently 
  • advanced Traffic Management Centre, with connected traffic signals and cameras to enhance traffic flow 
  • Chromebook and Hotspot lending programs through Mississauga Library, making technology accessible to all 
  • annual Hackathon event for developing new ways to improve everyday life in Mississauga through technology 

 

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