Vancouver and Surrey join forces for Smart Cities Challenge

Top prize $50 million in funding from Infrastructure Canada

“Now, with the Smart Cities Challenge and in partnership with the City of Surrey, we can make our cities smarter and more connected by leveraging ideas that use data and connected technology to address complex urban challenges," Mayor Gregor Robertson.

People sitting looking at their phone and tablet
February 5 2018 –

The cities of Vancouver and Surrey are partnering together to submit a joint application for the Infrastructure Canada Smart Cities Challenge, a nationwide competition encouraging cities to share their best ideas to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

The top prize for the winning application is $50 million put towards a smart city transformation.

Smarter together

Over the coming months, both cities are seeking input from citizens, entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses with a final proposal to be submitted to Infrastructure Canada.

As the two largest cities in BC, a winning submission for Vancouver and Surrey has the potential to affect transformational change for the cities, and the region, by establishing and accelerating a common smart cities approach to improve citizens’ quality of life.

Both cities have led pioneering digital and smart city efforts that have already realized positive results, contributing to our communities being healthier, more inclusive and livable.

“It is incredibly exciting to imagine the smart city possibilities with Surrey and Vancouver working together,” said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “With ideas generated from our citizens, the cities of Surrey and Vancouver have an opportunity to realize smart city infrastructure investment that could prove transformational for our region and meaningfully benefit citizens’ quality of life for decades to come.”

“Vancouver has one of the hottest start-up scenes in North America, and is known as a digitally connected city with initiatives like free public WiFi, apps that help residents connect with City services, and electric vehicle charging stations,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Now, with the Smart Cities Challenge and in partnership with the City of Surrey, we can make our cities smarter and more connected by leveraging ideas that use data and connected technology to address complex urban challenges. We’re calling on everyone to step up and give us their best ideas on how technology can make our cities even better places to live.”

Vancouver and Surrey's "smart city" initiatives

A smart cities approach means achieving beneficial outcomes for citizens through the use of data and connected technology.

In recent years, both cities have each established a vision and created infrastructure, programs, and initiatives to ensure that technology and data are used to best serve the region’s growing population and to dramatically improve economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

The cities’ respective “smart city” initiatives include:

  • A fully closed-looped waste management system in Surrey where residents’ waste is converted into biofuel to power city waste collection vehicles
  • Vancouver’s recent expansion of free public WiFi across the city, providing greater opportunities for locals, businesses, and visitors to more easily connect and interact online

“The Smart Cities Challenge has the ability to be a game changer for the region by catalyzing a once in a generation transformation,” said Jessie Adcock, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Vancouver. By working together with citizens, industry, and the business community, and through our partnership with the City of Surrey, we are moving towards a future that is smarter together.”

“A $50 million infusion into our Smart Cities initiatives will be of great benefit to help shape future services,” said Sean Simpson, Director of Information Technology for the City of Surrey.  “Leveraging technology and innovation will assist in finding new and creative ways to enhance the quality of life for our communities."

We want to hear from you

How we leverage technology and innovation to better serve the needs of our citizens, how we create efficiencies to better our quality of life, now and in the future is at the heart of being a smart city. 

Whether you’re an innovative business with a detailed project idea or a citizen who has an idea that uses technology to improve economic, social or environmental outcomes, we want to hear from you.

Learn more and submit your bright idea

Submission requirements

Submissions should align with any one of the following focus areas:

  • Economic opportunity
  • Empowerment and inclusion
  • Environmental quality
  • Healthy living and recreation
  • Mobility
  • Safety and security

Infrastructure Canada Smart Cities Challenge

The Infrastructure Canada Smart Cities Challenge  seeks to catalyze individual efforts and bring together diverse perspectives from community leaders and city builders, governments, corporations, entrepreneurs, and academic innovators to achieve a real and positive impact to common issues.

Learn more about each cities smart city program: