First details revealed for Google's tech-focused neighbourhood in Toronto

Jerome Frank
October 19, 2017

The Google spinoff announced a deal with the city of Toronto to develop 800 acres of waterfront property into its own digital utopia. Alphabet - the parent company of both Sidewalk Labs and Google - also plans to move Google's Canadian headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront to anchor the new community. Along with related developments, the mega-project is being dubbed "Sidewalk Toronto".

Schmidt said that "we are making a bold bet that innovation technology and forward-thinking urban design can make fundamental improvements in city life". "But I just look and I see startup after startup, decision after decision [her in the city]- including the one to partner with Sidewalk. and I see this as a huge opportunity in Toronto and for Canada as well".

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.

Rumors of Sidewalk Labs' city building ambitions first emerged past year, at which point Sidewalk Labs was reportedly putting the finishing touches on a proposal for new, smarter houses, offices, and retail spaces within existing cities. "It will also reflect the cultural diversity and openness of Toronto, and help connect all Torontonians to waterfront beaches, parks, and communities". To jumpstart the development, Alphabet has already announced plans to bring Google's Canadian headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront. "This announcement about Sidewalk and one of the first sort of big scale district developments is an affirmation for the city that this is a place that really is coming on the map globally".

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The eastern waterfront and the Toronto skyline.

Sidewalk Labs describes the neighborhood as being built not from the ground up, but from the "internet up". A place that encourages innovation around energy, waste, and other environmental challenges to protect the planet. The process will begin next month with a town hall meeting on November 1st. "We need to harness the talent and ambition of urban technology to help serve the people of Toronto and keep our city affordable, liveable and vibrant".

Schmidt noted that Google has been talking for years about finding a city where the company could implement its ideas and was increasingly aware that Canada "mattered an bad lot more than we in Silicon Valley thought", thanks in part to pioneering research in machine learning and AI done in Toronto and Montreal - research that now forms the basis of the company.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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