Region of Waterloo falls short in Smart Cities Challenge bid

The Region of Waterloo failed in its bid to win the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge Tuesday and the $50 million prize that goes along with it.

The region was one of five communities competing to win the top prize, along with Montreal, Surrey and Vancouver, Edmonton and Quebec City.

Montreal came out on top with its plan for mobility and access to food.

Throughout the day, communities from across the country made presentations in Ottawa, looking to win a piece of the pie.

Waterloo region was the final one to present to their idea.

READ MORE: Edmonton selected as $50M Smart Cities Challenge finalist

The region’s bid was driven by child and youth well-being with a focus on early child development, mental health, bullying, literacy rates, high school graduation rates and youth sense of belonging.

Matthew Chandy presented Waterloo Region’s idea at the Canadian Smart Cities Challenge Finalist Showcase.

“In Waterloo Region, we do things differently,” he said. “We are a community of collaborators and innovators that come together to get things done.”

He explained some of the process Waterloo used in developing its idea.

“Over the past year and a half, our community came together with one goal,” Chandy said. “To become the best community in Canada for children and youth.”

READ MORE: Guelph, Wellington County pitch food economy plan for $10M prize

“Many kids in Waterloo Region are struggling with early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health and they don’t feel like they belong. They want to change this. We need to change this.

“Our goal is ambitious, but so are we.”

It hopes to build a dashboard which connected data from organizations around the region to measure child and youth well-being in the region against UNICEF’s Canada’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Index.

It would adapt the dashboard to work for communities across the country in hopes of helping Canada become a world leader in the area.

WATCH: National Smart Cities Challenge (December 2018)

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