Illustration: Ricardo Santos

Death of a Smart City

Alphabet bet big in Toronto. Toronto didn’t play along.

CEO of Waterfront Toronto Will Fleissig and CEO of Sidewalk Labs Dan Doctoroff pose on Lake Ontario; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Doctoroff. Photo sources: Lucas Oleniuk/Getty Images
Sidewalk Labs’ scale model of Quayside is on display in Toronto, Ontario. Photo source: STR/AFP/Getty Images

“The ability to track citizens, to engage in surveillance with the technology that they’re proposing — that’s not going to happen”

A report from the National Research Council… said that Canada was in danger of becoming a “data cow” for foreign tech platforms

Pictured, left to right: Jim Balsillie, Nasma Ahmed, Charlie Angus, Bianca Wylie
Comment cards are on display as Sidewalk Labs unveils a conceptual scale model of the Quayside development in Toronto on June 24, 2019. Photo source: Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

“It was a symbol. They had to do something, so they got rid of us. The well had been poisoned”

Perhaps the barriers to melding cyberspace with physical space are taller than the techno-optimists realized