CBC: Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit, will hand out 1M masks to riders. “Toronto plans to make face coverings mandatory on its public transit system, a rule that could go into effect starting July 2. Mayor John Tory announced the updated regulations for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on Thursday.”
AP: Google Affiliate Scraps Plan for Toronto Smart City Project. “Google abandoned its smart-city development in Toronto…after more than two years of controversy over privacy concerns and amid economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. A unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet had been proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto’s waterfront into a wired community, but Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff said in a statement that it is no longer financially viable.” This is somewhat old news — I am still catching up from my focusing more exclusively on coronavirus news — but I’m still shocked.
BroadwayWorld: Arts@Home: New Website Offers Free Resources And Activities For Educators And People Of All Ages (PRESS RELEASE). “For so many, Toronto is our creative, cultural home. That’s why during the COVID-19 crisis, several local cultural organizations, in collaboration with arts educators and with the support of the City of Toronto, have come together to launch Arts@Home, a shared online space promoting free cultural resources for both educators and the community…. The portal features resources for educators and people of all ages in several diverse and broad-based categories: Art, Dance, Music, Theatre, Media, and More. Subsections include Film and Photography, as well as offerings from Indigenous arts organizations. All tools and activities are free of charge, and available to everyone.”
Engadget: Toronto rejects some of Sidewalk Labs’ smart neighborhood ideas. “Sidewalk Labs will have to cede a little more ground on its vision for Quayside, a planned smart neighborhood in Toronto. The company, which is owned by Google-parent Alphabet, published a draft version of its Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) last June.”
New-to-me, from Daily Commercial News: TOBuilt: a new tool for construction reno planning. “TOBuilt, a crowd-sourced database with information and images of 11,500 buildings in Toronto, is proving to be a valuable research resource to architects, builders and consultants planning to add or renovate existing buildings.”
CNN: Alphabet scales back its smart city project in Toronto after backlash. “Waterfront Toronto, the government agency overseeing the development, announced Thursday that it has agreed to evaluate Alphabet’s plans after major concessions from the tech company, including a much smaller plot of land for the development and less control over data. The agreement keeps Alphabet’s project alive.”
Boing Boing: Leaked document reveals that Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto plans for private taxation, private roads, charter schools, corporate cops and judges, and punishment for people who choose privacy. “Tomorrow, Toronto’s City Council will hold a key vote on Sidewalk Labs’s plan to privatize much of the city’s lakeshore in the name of creating a ‘smart city’ owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Today, the Globe and Mail published a summary of Sidewalk Labs’s leaked ‘yellow book’, a 2016 document that lays out Sidewalk Labs’s vision for Toronto and future projects in Detroit, Denver, and Alameda.”
The Star: Indigenous elder slams ‘hollow and tokenistic’ consultation by Sidewalk Labs. “An elder who participated in an Indigenous consultation and the architect who helped organize it are accusing Sidewalk Labs of a ‘hollow and tokenistic’ effort that completely ignored recommendations for its proposed Quayside development.”
BNN Bloomberg: Google parent is closer to a deal on Toronto’s Sidewalk Labs. “Sidewalk Labs LLC, the urban innovation unit of Alphabet Inc. and Waterfront Toronto, the public corporation in charge of the development, are finding common ground on a majority of contentious issues, according to people familiar with the discussions. The parties have been meeting ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline set by Waterfront to reach agreement on topics such as data privacy, land values and geographical boundaries, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.”
Boing Boing: Critical essays (including mine) discuss Toronto’s plan to let Google build a surveillance-based “smart city” along its waterfront . (The “Mine” in this case is Cory Doctorow.) “Toronto Life has run a great, large package of short essays by proponents and critics of the project, from Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff (no, really, that’s his name) to former privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian (who evinces an unfortunate belief in data-deidentification) to city councillor and former Greenpeace campaigner Gord Perks to urban guru Richard Florida to me.”
The Intercept: Google’s “Smart City Of Surveillance” Faces New Resistance In Toronto. “From the start, activists, technology researchers, and some government officials have been skeptical about the idea of putting Google, or one of its sister companies, in charge of a city. Their suspicions about turning part of Toronto into a corporate test bed were triggered, at first, by the company’s history of unethical corporate practices and surreptitious data collection. They have since been borne out by Quayside’s secret and undemocratic development process, which has been plagued by a lack of public input — what one critic has called ‘a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism attempting to bulldoze important urban, civic and political issues.'”
Spacing Toronto: Why I revived the Bureau of Municipal Research. “Ten years ago, as a grad student researching the history of Toronto’s waterfront, I came across a study, published in 1977, that could very well have been written today: ‘Should the Island be an Airport?’ The report, I came to learn, was produced by a long-lived, but largely forgotten, citizens group known as the Bureau of Municipal Research. The Bureau was established in 1914, as the Toronto Daily Star reported at the time, as a centre of “general municipal intelligence.” Its mission and motto was to produce “better government through research,” and for seventy years that’s what it did, publishing over 800 research bulletins and reports on more than a hundred different topics, before closing its doors in 1983.”
Toronto Public Library: TPL’s Digital Archive collaborates with Sidewalk Labs. “Close to 4,000 images from the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive have been added to the #OldTO website… Earlier this year, Sidewalk Labs collaborated with the City of Toronto Archives and used their image data to create a clickable map of Toronto to highlight digital images from their collections. “
The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada) has launched a new photo archive. “As part of the Globe’s Canada 150 celebration, (the Globe hits 173 this year), we’ve pulled an eclectic selection of photos that range from a 1901 picture of the Forester’s Arch being erected on Bay and Richmond streets for a royal visit to a Canadian astronomical discovery in the late 1990s. You can search the archive by date or Globe photographer, and there are special collections that cover different aspects of Canadian life.” It looks like this is subscribers only; there are over 100,000 photos available at the moment with more to come.
Congratulations to the Toronto Public Library for reaching 100,000 items in its digital collection. That photo archive looks terrific.