News / Vancouver

Vancouver and Surrey vie for $50M of 'Smart Cities' funding from federal government

The money will go toward innovative solutions for everything from traffic congestion to garbage pickup

The Vancouver skyline seen from East Vancouver.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro

The Vancouver skyline seen from East Vancouver.

Vancouver and Surrey are vying for $50 million in prize money from Infrastructure Canada that would go toward making each city ‘smart.’ 

Think of a ‘smart’ home, where everything from TVs to ovens to lights are connected to smart phones and databases to make life more convenient for users – cities have been working on similar technologies but in an urban landscape, with highway sensors, crosswalks, and garbage cans, for instance.

Infrastructure Canada is asking cities to submit ideas with the chance of winning $50 million in the Smart Cities Challenge.

The cities of Vancouver and Surrey are planning to submit a joint bid in April and are currently accepting ideas from residents, innovators, and businesses.

“This represents an injection of a significant investment that would make the region move forward. Especially in this day and age, when technology is moving so fast, winning this could be a great thing for our community,” said Jessie Adcock, chief technology officer at the City of Vancouver.

People can submit their ideas at and Adcock says staff are looking for feedback even from residents who do not have technological expertise.

Sean Simpson, the IT director at the City of Surrey, says the aim is to match common problems or nuisances with innovative solutions, which can then come from the tech industry.

“We’re really excited about this opportunity and we really want the public to help shape what we can do and how we achieve it,” he said.

Together, the two cities make up the bulk of the Lower Mainland’s population and the benefits from winning $50 million for tech and innovation would extend to the whole region, he said.  

He confirmed that if Vancouver and Surrey won, they would split the winnings in half.

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