Southern Ontario wins federal innovation supercluster funding

OTTAWAFeb. 15, 2018 /CNW/ – When small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations come together to generate bold ideas, Canadians benefit from more well-paying jobs, groundbreaking research and a world-leading innovation economy.

That’s why the Government of Canada is investing up to $950 million under the Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

The investment, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the private sector, is expected to create more than 50,000 middle-class jobs and grow Canada’s economy by $50 billion over the next 10 years.

In 2017, the Government of Canada challenged Canadian businesses of all sizes to collaborate with other innovation actors, including post-secondary and research institutions, to propose bold and ambitious strategies that would transform regional economies and develop job-creating superclusters of innovation, like Silicon Valley.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced Canada’s five superclusters:

  • The Ocean Supercluster (based in Atlantic Canada) will use innovation to improve competitiveness in Canada’socean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy;
  • The SCALE.AI Supercluster (based in Quebec) will make Canada a world leading exporter by building intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (based in Ontario) will connect Canada’s technology strengths to our manufacturing industry to make us a world manufacturing leader in the economy of tomorrow;
  • The Protein Industries Supercluster (based in the Prairies) will make Canada a leading source for plant proteins and help feed the world;
  • The Digital Technology Supercluster (based in British Columbia) will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors like healthcare, forestry, and manufacturing.

The Innovation Superclusters Initiative is a centrepiece of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to prepare Canada for the innovative jobs of today and tomorrow.


“Today we are investing in five superclusters so that tomorrow we will be more than 50,000 jobs richer and benefit from an even stronger economy—an innovation economy. With the Superclusters Initiative, we bet on Canadians. We looked at what we did well across our great nation, and we asked industry, academia and NGOs how we could do it better. The response was impressive and the ideas were remarkable.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“When Canadian small businesses succeed, Canadians succeed. That’s why I’m thrilled to see more than 300 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses playing such a central role in Canada’s superclusters. Our economy is changing, and this kind of collaboration—between large and small businesses, alongside community and academic partners—shows what is possible when we work together. I am especially proud of the fact that so many of these small businesses are run by women. These new superclusters will create great new opportunities for them to scale up, export and create well-paying middle-class jobs. This is great news for our economy, for Canadian innovation and for our society.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“Led by some of Canada’s strongest companies, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive greater connectivity and collaboration between our manufacturing and technology sectors. By leveraging southern Ontario’sinnovation infrastructure and a strong network of manufacturing, technology and business expertise, we’re confident that the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive exponential benefits for industry and the Canadian economy.”
– Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar and lead applicant for the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster


Quick facts

  • Superclusters are dense areas of business activity where many of the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow are created. They attract large and small companies that collaborate with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market.
  • Together the superclusters represent more than 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and 180 other participants in sectors covering 78 percent of Canada’s economy.
  • Having the strong representation of women and under-represented groups in these superclusters is a top priority. The superclusters will endeavour to increase the representation of women and under-represented groups in their activity and leadership, helping them succeed in skilled jobs in highly innovative industries.

Associated links

#HamOnt Tech Volunteer Opportunities

The IEC of Hamilton and Software Hamilton are hosting “#HamOnt Tech Volunteer Opportunities”, for curious post-secondary students and individuals that want to help introduce coding and robotics to students in Grades 4-12.

We know you have a love for all things ‘tech’ so what better way to share your passion than to inspire and teach our future workforce? Guest speakers will introduce you to innovative programs, share their experiences, and help you plug-in to local grass-roots movements.

We would love for you to join us during one of our three sessions, you can register here:


Tuesday February 27, 2018
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Innovation Factory, 175 Longwood Rd S, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1

Monday March 5, 2018
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
ArcelorMittal Dofasco S.T.E.M. Centre for Exploration and Discovery, 225 King William Street, Suite 222


Check out the below schedule. #HamOnt Tech Volunteer Opportunities attendees can expect coffee, tea, desserts, lots of knowledge-sharing and networking!


6:45 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

Arrival and registration – make sure you grab a dessert!

7:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks

8:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks


Dr. Kevin Browne, Professor & Entrepreneur
Talk: Developing your Network through Mentorship

Volunteering for mentorship, teaching and other leadership roles can allow individuals to develop career advancing soft and technical skills that open new doors. Find out about how volunteering can help your career, and learn about opportunities to become involved in the Hamilton technology and innovation community.

Beth Gibson, Project Consultant, IEC of Hamilton
Talk: Fuel the Culture

Are you interested in sharing your passion for all things ‘tech’? Do you want to fuel the culture but are not sure how to go about doing it? In this talk, Beth will introduce coding and robotics programs and initiatives that are happening right here in Hamilton. She will review core concepts, participation data, deliverables, partners, and share success stories of former volunteers who have acquired internships and job opportunities as a direct result of their involvement in these projects.

Elizabeth Trang, Facilitator & Developer, IEC of Hamilton and Ronak Patel, Facilitator & Developer, IEC of Hamilton
Talk: Innovative Tech Volunteer Opportunities

Who inspired you to pursue a passion in tech when you were younger? Was it a teacher, family member of friend? In this talk, Elizabeth and Ronak will talk about how they engage and teach youth through hands-on introductions to code. They will discuss their experiences, provide tips and tricks, and most importantly, how kids react when they learn that coding isn’t magic!


February EhList Drinks Meetup tomorrow



When: Tuesday February 13th 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Where: The Brain at 199 James Street North, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Chris Buttenham and Kristian Borghesan of Startups in Canada & The Art of The Fail Podcast



SOMETHING GOOD IS BREWING! Come join us for the SEVENTH monthly meetup for the YHM #EhList chapter.

If you’re a founder, you’re a fit! Come chat with like minds and enjoy a TASTY BEVERAGE at The Brain downtown Hamilton.


Create a Valentine workshop with HTML/CSS


When: Monday February 12th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Canada Learning Code – Hamilton Chapter (@learningcodeyhm)



Join us for a 3 hour, beginner-friendly, HTML/CSS workshop and create your own personalized, digital Valentine’s Card with HTML & CSS!

In this workshop, you will learn how to create an online Valentine’s Day card (like this one) using the fundamentals of HTML & CSS and new CSS3 features to create fun animations to make your card really special.

You will also learn how to use CodePen (a popular developer playground) to share your sweet, sweet design.

Come with that special someone, best friend or favourite person and say Happy Valentine’s Day the Ladies Learning Code way!


Smart City workshop by Chamber of Commerce


When: Wednesday February 21st 2018 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Where: David Braley Health Sciences Centre (100 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada)

Organizer: Hamilton Chamber of Commerce (@hamiltonchamber)



The Federal Government’s Smart Cities Challenge will invest $300 million in communities across Canada to encourage cities and their most creative minds to adopt new and innovative approaches to city-building and the digitalization of urban services.

A smart city uses technology and data to improve livability and opportunities for the city and its people.

Smart cities have the potential to improve every aspect of community life – how people move around, how they live and play, how they earn a living, how they learn and are empowered to participate in society, how they interact with the natural environment, and how they create safe and secure public spaces. Modeled on similar challenges in the United States, the government will award prizes worth up to $50 Million to cities under different size categories. For more information, please click here.

Please join the Digital Hamilton Task Force and other business leaders as we talk about what is possible for Hamilton as a Smart City.  This workshop is your opportunity to identify what is important to your business in Hamilton.  This workshop is being held in partnership with the City of Hamilton in support of the communities pursuit of $50 Million in Smart City funding from the Federal Government.


Hamilton named in top 7 Intelligent Communities


(New York– 8 February 2018) – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 today.  This is the think tank’s 16th annual Top7 list of regions, cities or towns that have gone, in ICF’s words, “from Smart City to Intelligent Community.”  This year’s list includes communities from four nations, with Taiwan contributing three, Canada two communities and Australia and Finland one each. The seven will travel to London in June where one will go on to be named the Intelligent Community of the Year, succeeding Melbourne, Australia, the reigning community.  The announcement will take place as the culminating event at the ICF Global Summit from 4-6 June at Siemens’ Crystal Facility and other sites around London. (



In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 are:

  • Chiayi City, Taiwan
  • Espoo, Finland
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  • Tainan City, Taiwan
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Three of the Top7 are making their first appearance on the list: Espoo, Hamilton and Tainan City. Another three make their third appearance: Ipswich, Taoyuan and Winnipeg.  Chiayi City is making its second.  The Awards program drives communities to make substantial progress from year to year, so it is not unusual for a community to continue to enter the program.  There is no cost to enter.

As part of the announcement, ICF released a video announcing the new Top7.  See the video at: or on ICF’s YouTube page at A high-resolution download of the video is available by request.

“The successor to Melbourne will come from one of four countries this year,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Even though these places are diverse and spread across the world, they share an emphatic effort to use broadband, open data and other digital tools to humanize policy and remove anxiety from daily life. Even though technology is a key driver of growth and public service and infrastructure management, people today sense that their dignity and our true development comes when it is put in service of every individual citizen. These seven long ago dared to stake that claim for their future. The results are wonderful.”

The ICF Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 will be featured throughout the ICF Global Summit on 4-6 June in London. Representatives from the Top7 will take part in Economic Development Matchmaking sessions, workshops and roundtables, special conversations detailing their stories, receptions honoring the Top7 and a dinner to name the Intelligent Community of the Year. For more information visit

Following are brief profiles for this year’s 2018 Top7 Intelligent Communities. More complete profiles are found online on ICF’s Website.

Chiayi City, Taiwan: Chiayi is a provincial city of 270,000 in southcentral Taiwan, midway between Taichung and Tainan. Ninety-five percent of its economy is in the services sector – wholesale and retail, transportation and warehousing, and accommodation and food – which employs three-quarters of the workforce. After Chiayi was ranked as having the worst air quality in Taiwan in 2014, Mayor Twu Shiing-jer, a physician, dedicated his administration to improving life in the city in this and many other areas.  What followed was a clean air initiative, a rollout of a broadband network with over 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, a new focus on digital education, and more. Read more

Espoo, Finland: In the far northern nations of the world, people tend to cluster southward. Espoo, Finland’s second largest city, lies on the border of its biggest city and national capital, Helsinki. In 1950, Espoo was a regional municipality of 22,000, which drew its name from the Swedish words for the aspen tree and for river. Today, Espoo is still a place on a river bordered by aspen trees. While it is an industrial city of 270,000, it retains its dispersed, regional nature, however, being made of up of seven population hubs arrayed along the border with Helsinki, where many of its citizens work. Read more

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: The Golden Horseshoe is the region that bends around the westernmost end of Lake Ontario in Canada. At the center of the horseshoe’s curve is Hamilton, a city of 520,000 known for industry, education and cultural diversity, having the third-largest foreign-born population in Canada. Located 70 kilometers southwest of Toronto (the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year), Hamilton was once known as the Steel Capital of Canada, producing 60% of the nation’s steel. It is also a successful lake port city and operates an airport that saw passenger traffic grow tenfold from 1996 to 2002. A 30-year economic development plan begun in 2003 set the goal of creating a massive aerotropolis industrial park around that airport to capitalize on its success.  Read more

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia: In 2011, the city of Ipswich published a 20-year economic development plan for its population of 195,000. It forecast the addition of 292,000 new residents, who will require an additional 120,000 jobs, and will live in a network of distinct communities interwoven with centers of employment, recreational facilities and green space. Because Ipswich offered affordable housing and an attractive lifestyle, its population has grown rapidly in the booming economy of 21st Century Australia. Read more

Tainan City, Taiwan: If you have ever eaten a bowl of instant noodles, you owe a debt to Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Foods and inventor of this staple of Asian fast food, who was born and raised in Tainan City. This city of 1.9 million was the historic capital of Taiwan and the cultural heritage of centuries remains one of Tainan’s most important assets that drives a thriving tourist industry. Tainan today, however, is about much more than the past. It is home to multiple science and technology parks including the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Tainan Technology Park and Shugu LCD Park. The tenant rolls are dominated by optoelectronics, integrated circuits, green energy and biotech companies, which together with more traditional manufacturing generate more than half of the city’s economic activity. Read more

Taoyuan, Taiwan: From the Taoyuan International Airport on its northwest corner to its mountainous and thinly populated southeast, Taoyuan is home to 2 million people and 47,000 companies including one-third of the nation’s top 500 manufacturers. By nourishing local innovation, attracting international entrepreneurs, and building an ever-growing infrastructure for clean energy production, Taoyuan is preparing its people, organizations and environment for global competition. Read more

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Located midway between the two coasts of Canada, Winnipeg is the capital of a province rich in agricultural and natural resources. In the 21st Century, the city is pursuing economic growth by better connecting industry and education, while better equipping its large aboriginal population for opportunity. The city has pursued economic growth by connecting industry and education more systematically, and leveraging its indigenous geographical and cultural assets. A public-private R&D organization develops technologies and supply chains for high-performance composites based on agricultural materials, while there has been a programmatic attempt to equip its large aboriginal population with digital tools. Read more

More about the ICF Intelligent Community Awards Program
Before being selected as a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities were among those named to ICF’s list of the Smart21 Communities of the Year. The Smart21 were named in October 2017 during Silicon Harlem’s “Community Forward” conference in New York City.

Candidates are evaluated based on seven criteria: six Intelligent Community Indicators, which provide the conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community’s competitiveness and point to its success in what the Intelligent Community Forum calls, “The Broadband Economy,” and an annual theme. The 2018 theme is Humanizing Data, which explores the intersection between big data and open data, and the impacts of a data-driven economy on communities. Click here for more information on the 2018 theme.

The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in London on 6 June 2018 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year. The announcement will be made live at a dinner for delegations from cities and communities around the world, as well as the international media, which will cover the awards announcement. For more information or to register for the ICF Summit, click here:

About Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum (, headquartered in New York, is a global movement of 170 cities, metro regions and counties with a think tank at its heart and a mission to make everyone’s “hometown” at great place. ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT). To help cities and regions build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts events around the globe, publishes books, and produces its high-profile annual international awards program. The Forum sponsors research Institutes in North America dedicated to the study of the movement, and national organizations in Canada and Taiwan, both home to many Intelligent Communities. In 2012 ICF was invited to participate at the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Oslo and in 2014, its model and work was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which, according to the American government, was “aimed at creating a more flexible and responsive system of workforce development to meet the needs of employers looking to fill 21st century jobs.” The Forum’s membership is made up of 170 designated Intelligent Communities worldwide. For more information, go to For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs,

Intelligent Community Forum Contacts
Matthew Owen
Director of Operations, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 001-646-291-6166 x105

Louis Zacharilla
Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: (M) 001-917-715-0711 (O) 001-212-249-0624


Mac students win Google Challenge at hackathon

Originally posted on



A strong friendship, a shared passion for music and dreams of working in the tech industry helped two McMaster Engineering students win the Actions on Google Challenge at the University of Toronto’s annual hackathon. The event took place from January 19-21.

Liane Ladouceur, a third year electrical and biomedical engineering student and Kerala Brendon, a computer science student, also in her third year, won judges over with Talking Notes, an interactive music teacher application. The pair took home a Google Pixel 2, a Google Home Mini and the opportunity to work alongside Google Actions engineers to bring their application to life for over 400M users.

“We went into UofT Hacks with the intention of learning something new and didn’t expect to win any challenges,” explained Ladouceur. “When we won, we realized our app really did offer everything the Google judges were looking for. The user experience was well thought out, it was useful and unique to the Google Assistant. Plus, it had a lot of ‘Googleyness’ and passion behind it.”

Talking Notes teaches a user how to play up to five instruments; the cello, clarinet, piano, violin or recorder. The music teacher assesses a user’s skill level, walks them through tuning the instrument, practicing scales and rehearsing sheet music.

“Before starting the hackathon, we had no experience with Actions on Google, so we were starting from scratch, learning this new interface,” said Brendon. “We learned to use Firebase, the Google mobile development platform, as well as Dialogflow, which takes care of natural language processing.”

In its fifth year, UofTHacks brings developers, designers and creators together for 36 hours of collaborative computer programming. The event introduces attendees to new hardware and application programming interfaces (APIs). There are also workshops and support from volunteer mentors.

This year, 500 people attended. There were 12 challenges in total and the Actions on Google Challenge attracted 29 teams.

Ladouceur and Brendon’s idea for Talking Notes stemmed from their love for music. Ladouceur plays the clarinet and Brendon plays the piano and cello. Brendon continues to keep her skills sharp by playing cello for the McMaster Chamber Orchestra and the McMaster Engineering Musical.

In their first year, the duo became best friends as Welcome Week representatives.

“Being in different programs, we had never worked together on a project or any school work,” said Brendon. “We were happy to find out that we work very well together, and that spending 36 intense hours together didn’t ruin our friendship, but actually made it stronger.”

Ladouceur and Brendon hope to enhance the user experience of the app by giving it the ability to recall information on specific users to tailor the experience each time it’s used. They also want to create a more personal music teacher for each user.

“We were both intent on pursuing careers in the tech industry already, and this experience has certainly given us a boost in confidence.”


DeltaHacks IV showcases student tech talent


The fourth annual DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) took place on Sunday January 28th at McMaster University.

The hackathon is unique amongst regional hackathons for emphasizing hacks for change, in other words, hacks with social good. This year’s event attracted over 300 students, not just from McMaster University, but from post-secondary institutions around Ontario (e.g. Waterloo, UofT, Guelph, etc.).

Check out all the finalist presentations from DeltaHacks IV below!


DoctorDM – a text message based app that allows users to request a diagnosis via SMS messaging


Safety First – an image recognition tool that identifies and provides information about safety issues given an image


Findr – an app to help users identify find out how many other people are checked in to different rooms (e.g. so students could find free space on campus)


Kobot – provides text recaps of previous novel chapters (inspired by Netflix episode recaps)


ReadRelax – an app to help users relax and read quicker


Aloud – an app to read aloud physical written text materials


Kobot won 3rd place, Findr won 2nd place, and the 1st place winner was Aloud, who mentioned they didn’t even know each other before the hackathon! Many awards were also given away for individual, special categories, from “best use of blockchain” to “IoT”.

It’s always so wonderful to see this event happen year after year and grow in scope and quality – congratulations to the organizers for yet another great hackathon!