Canada launches Smart Cities Challenge

On November 23, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities officially announced the Smart Cities Challenge. The challenge is open to all communities in Canada, including “municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). The Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

The Smart Cities Challenge

Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Across the country, communities large and small are bursting with new ideas. As Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, I have been privileged to meet with leaders from coast-to-coast-to-coast and hear their bold and innovative plans to improve the quality of life for their residents. Through the Smart Cities Challenge, we will help bring these ideas and plans to life, and find solutions that achieve real and positive outcomes.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also discussed the Smart Cities concept while at Google’s Go North event in Toronto. Speaking specifically to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs plan to turn an unused “portion of Toronto’s waterfront into a new model city of the future.”

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Canadians have a tendency to travel, Trudeau said, and that results in a global outlook on how cities work and their different approaches to things like traffic and how people live in urban environments. The new waterfront project gives Canadians “amazing opportunity to innovate or leapfrog” in urban innovation, since existing cities grew organically into what they are and how they work, for better or for worse, but the new smart city area won’t “be built on the bones of past failure and past successes,” but will instead be developed from a clean slate.

13 goals for a more sustainable Canada

Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy includes 13 broad goals for the country:

  • Effective action on climate change
  • Low-carbon government
  • Clean growth
  • Modern and resilient infrastructure
  • Clean energy
  • Healthy coasts and oceans
  • Pristine lakes and rivers
  • Sustainably managed lands and forests
  • Healthy wildlife populations
  • Clean drinking water
  • Sustainable food
  • Connecting Canadians with nature
  • Safe and healthy communities

So while the U.S. Federal Government strips references to climate change from Department of Energy websites and welcomes Canada’s leaky Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, Canada is actively working toward a more sustainable future for its citizens.

Green Walls at Edmonton International Airport in Alberta Canada

What are “green walls”? Sometimes called “living walls” or “vertical gardens”, they aren’t your classic ivy covered wall. In short, it is any type of verticle container that attaches to a wall, allowing plants to grow without having their roots in the ground. Green walls can be used inside or outside the building. They can help reduce temperatures in the buildings, as well as improve air quality. And for the urban gardener, it is a great use of space!

Glenn Myers brings us another great guest post with photos of the green walls at the Edmonton International Airport in Alberta Canada.



Looking Closely at Green Walls in Alberta (via Green Building Elements)

Matt Mirandi has sent us some information on green walls featured on ecomagination and created by Green Over Grey. He introduces the subject with convincing written parlance: “Green walls are awesome.  They’re art; they help promote relaxation and healing, reduce indoor pollution (and noise…

Continue Reading

Would You Live Here? 5 Remarkable Recycled Homes

Years ago, a friend and I were talking about our “dream homes”. Mine was a decommissioned small church or chapel because I’ve always loved the architectual elements found in them. It looks like someone else had the same idea as seen in #4 on Glenn Myers’ list of “5 Remarkable Recycled Homes”.

Which one is your favorite?



5 Remarkable Recycled Homes (via Green Building Elements)

A number of innovative structures have been created using materials that might otherwise have been destined for the landfill. Here are five examples of what we’ve found, thanks to the The Daily Green, Flavorwire, and Design Buzz. 1. New Life for a Grain Silo House  2. House of Bottled Dreams 3.…

Continue Reading