The Government of Canada Announces Winners of the Smart Cities Challenge

By driving innovation in communities across the country, the Government of Canada is empowering communities to address the most pressing needs of their residents through data and connected technology.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and his Parliamentary Secretary Marco Mendicino, announced the four winners of the country’s first-ever Smart Cities Challenge, a pan-Canadian competition that encourages communities of all sizes to harness the potential of connected technology and data to improve the lives of Canadians.

The winners will receive prizes worth a total of $75 million, which will be used to implement their visions. The winners are:

  • Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia$5 million prize for its proposal to reduce energy poverty.
  • Nunavut Communities, Nunavut$10 million prize for its proposal to use a life promotion approach to suicide prevention.
  • City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario$10 million prize for its proposal to create a Circular Food Economy.
  • City of Montréal, Quebec$50 million prize for its proposal to improve mobility and access to food.

When the Challenge was launched in November 2017, communities from across Canada responded in great numbers. From the largest metropolitan areas to some of the smallest towns, to Indigenous communities, communities from across the country demonstrated that innovation and technology-enabled change can improve local realities in meaningful ways.

Over the past year, 20 finalists have been working intensely with their residents and partners to turn their bold ideas into real, practical plans. They have defined the smart city concept in a truly Canadian manner, and have come up with homegrown solutions that will benefit communities across the country as they develop their own visions.  All communities that have participated in this Challenge are winners; they have innovated and developed plans and partnerships to further their smart cities visions.

An independent Jury of 13 members assessed and evaluated the final proposals based on detailed criteria.

The four winners will implement their smart cities approaches over the next five years. Updates on their implementation will be posted on Infrastructure Canada’s website, where their proposal summaries are currently posted so they can inspire communities across the country on their own smart cities journeys.


“Congratulations to finalists and winners of Canada’s first-ever Smart Cities Challenge. The work you have put into developing your proposals and to improving the lives of your residents is huge. You are all winners! Your efforts will benefit your communities, and also communities across the country who may be facing similar challenges. You are shining examples of Canadian ingenuity and innovations at its best and I am immensely proud.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Quick Facts

  • More than 200 communities, large and small, from across Canada responded to the Smart Cities Challenge, which was launched in November 2017.
  • Of the 130 applications received, 20 were selected as finalists on June 1, 2018, and received grants of $250,000 to develop their proposals into fully-implementable business proposals.
  • These final proposals were submitted on March 5, 2019, and were evaluated and assessed by the independent Smart Cities Canada jury based on the criteria set out in the Smart Cities Challenge Finalist Guide.
  • This was the first of three competitions of the Challenge.

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Smart Cities Challenge aims to improve the lives of Canadians through data and connected technology

The Challenge

In November 2017, the Government of Canada challenged communities across the country to develop bold and ambitious ideas to improve the lives of their residents using data and connected technology.

Over 200 communities, large and small, urban and rural, from across Canada rose to the Challenge. They submitted innovative ideas that have the potential to advance progress on issues such as improving economic opportunity for Canadians, imagining the future of transportation, and improving the health outcomes of Canadians, among others.

An independent panel of 13 jury members assessed and evaluated the 130 eligible submissions based on the criteria set out in the Applicant Guide.

The Finalists

Last June, 20 finalists were selected to move on to the next step of the Challenge. These finalists each received a $250,000 grant to develop their project proposals. These proposals outline the design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans.

The grant enabled each finalist to fund activities in support of the development of their proposal. Such activities included professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, and research.

On March 5, 2019, each finalist submitted a final proposal for consideration. The Smart Cities Challenge jury assessed and evaluated these final submissions using the criteria outlined in the Smart Cities Challenge Finalist Guide and recommended four winners to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

The winners were announced on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, by Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne and his Parliamentary Secretary, Marco Mendicino.

The Winners

$5 million prize

Community: Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Challenge Statement: Our community will lift its residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate by 20% by 2025.

Final Proposal: https://www.bridgewater.ca/town-services/planning/planning-programs/bridgewater-smart-cities

Video: https://www.bridgewater.ca/town-services/planning/planning-programs/bridgewater-smart-cities

Contact Information:
Jessica McDonald, Director of Community Development

Leon de Vreede, Sustainability Planner

$10 million prize

Community: Nunavut Communities, Nunavut

Challenge Statement: Our communities will implement protective and preventative measures to reduce the risk of suicide in Nunavut, which is ten times the national average, and increase the amount and accessibility of peer support networks, educational resources and creative outlets that promote positive Mental Health to all Nunavummiut.

Final Proposal: https://katinnganiq.com/proposal/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq-YZU9_xpU&feature=youtu.be

Contact Information:
Maria Coates, Development Manager

Community: City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario

Challenge Statement: Guelph/Wellington will become Canada’s first technology-enabled Circular Food Economy, reimagining an inclusive food-secure ecosystem that increases access to affordable, nutritious food by 50%, where “waste” becomes a resource, 50 new circular businesses and collaborations are created, and circular economic revenues are increased by 50%: 50x50x50 by 2025.

Final Proposal: http://foodfuture.ca/wp-content/uploads/Smart-Cities-Proposal.pdf

Video: http://foodfuture.ca/wp-content/uploads/Smart-Cities-Proposal.pdf

Contact Information:
Cathy Kennedy, Manager, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, City of Guelph
519-822-1260 ext. 2255

$50 million prize

Community: Montréal, Quebec

Challenge Statement: The Montreal community is shaping an efficient and dynamic neighbourhood life by innovating mobility and access to food. Through a co-creation and citizen participation process, the accessibility of services and the well-being of Montrealers are increasing significantly.

Final Proposal: https://www.realisonsmtl.ca/defi (available in French only)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmLNKm3hGZY

Contact Information:
Aldo Rizzi, Head of Telecom Strategy and Partnerships

Associated links

Smart Cities Challenge: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/cities-villes-eng.html

Impact Canada: https://impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-cities

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Web: Infrastructure Canada

For further information: Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, 613-697-3778, ann-clara.vaillancourt@canada.ca; Media Relations, Infrastructure Canada, 613-960-9251, Toll free: 1-877-250-7154, Email: infc.media.infc@canada.ca

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