Smart Cities Challenge

Smart Cities Challenge

The Smart Cities Challenge is a Government of Canada competition open to all municipalities, local or regional governments, and Indigenous communities across Canada. The goal is to empower communities across the country to address local issues their residents face through new partnerships, using a smart cities approach.


The proposal

The City of Côte Saint-Luc submitted its Smart Cities Challenge proposal on April 24, 2018 and made available a PDF version below (click image).

The SHARED Initiative

How we prepared to draft the proposal

In January 2018, the city formed a Smart Cities Challenge Task Group that met weekly. The group included city councillors, senior managers, a representative of the Citizens Committee for Open Government, and several third-party companies to research technologies and organize the project and a series of resident-engagement meetings.

Industry meetings
The task group contacted SensorUp, a technology company in Calgary that is part of several Smart Cities Challenge proposals who agreed to help advise on deploying air quality grids as they have done across Canada in conjunction with National Resources Canada.

In February 2018, members of the task group attended a seminar and met with various companies including Groupe X-TELIA and Advanced IoT technologies at a Smart City conference ( These companies deploying LoRaWAN low power wide area networks for cities. This led to further discussions as to what type of sensing equipment was possible in smart cities.

Citizen group meeting
On January 23, 2018, a meeting of the Citizens Committee for Open Government, which undertook an action meeting to discuss various ideas for a smart city, attracted 23 people. The meeting was streamed live to Facebook to the committee group of 550 residents and was viewed 1,100 times. Comments from the meeting were gathered by members of the task group.

As it became evident that the city lacks adequate air quality monitoring and noise monitoring while being surrounded by Canadian Pacific rail yards and tracks, the need to track the air quality and its effects on community health was noted.

Public feedback and meetings
In November 2017, Côte Saint-Luc established a Facebook group called “CSL Ideas” and encouraged all residents to submit ideas for improving the city.  The city first advertised the Smart Cities Challenge on this group and others to seek ideas and feedback through online comments, as well as in newspapers and on city signage.

On March 14, 2018, the first city-wide Smart Cities Challenge meeting occurred which attracted 24 participants, including residents, staff and elected officials and another 15 watched on Facebook Live. Eventually the Facebook live stream was watched by 833 people who commented online.

All comments and ideas were aggregated into a single, categorized document and presented to the Task Group. It was noted that a majority of ideas were related to three issues – traffic flow, air and noise pollution and senior health. See summary of ideas and concerns at

The need for environmental quality monitoring was presented in different forms by several participants who were interested in using sensors to identify the sources of pollution in the city and be able to mitigate it. As our community has a higher per capita number of seniors than most cities in Canada, a focus on senior needs was evidenced in the meeting.

Ideas from attendants related to seniors included – aural traffic signals for sight-impaired seniors, bus wait time display, automatic door and gate opening, fall sensors and emergency pull chains, apartment and condo building meetups for seniors, video sharing of events.  

Since March 2018, the Task Group has been meeting and finally decided to focus on isolated seniors and address their need for better oversight and services.

Côte Saint-Luc selected as finalist

Côte Saint-Luc was selected as one of 10 finalists in its category (and one of 20 overall) by the selection committee of the Smart Cities Challenge. Each finalist community will receive a $250,000 grant to help develop its final proposal that outline all design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans. The grant can be used for activities such as staffing, professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, data, and relevant training. 

>> Read the challenge statements of the 20 finalists

>> Read about the jury members who will select the winning proposal


Above: Video produced by the Government of Canada profiling the preliminary proposal of Côte Saint-Luc.

Meetings and feedback

Côte Saint-Luc began meeting with researchers, industry and others in the field of technology, senior issues, privacy and related fields. The city continued to engage with the public including seniors and caregivers to ensure that the solution we are envisaging will be accepted and embraced by the people who are trying to help.


Above: Mayor Brownstein in conversation with Councillor Dida Berku and Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather



The City of Côte Saint-Luc was invited to speak at the 4th Annual Smart City and IoT Expo in Toronto, Ontario on October 10, 2018. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Dida Berku, and Marc Chriqui (Technical Director of the city's Smart Cities Challenge proposal) spoke to the audience about being selected as a finalist in the Government of Canada Smart Cities Challenge and how the city has met with a range of people studying the issue of creating smart homes for seniors.


Above: Video of the presentation.


Pilot project

The city will be conducting a pilot project to test the technology and see if it will work in practice the way we hope it will. We have been collecting names of potential participants.


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