Digital Transformation and the Intelligent Community seminar this Thursday


When: Thursday April 26th 2018 from 11:30am to 1:00pm

Where: Hamilton Technology Centre at 7 Innovation Drive, Dundas, ON

Organizer: Net Access (@NetAccessInc)




This seminar will explore what it means to be an intelligent community and how it will impact business for those working and living in Hamilton and the surrounding region.

Hamilton has been named to the Intelligent Community Forum’s Top7 intelligent communities in the world. Canada boasts 36 communities that have achieved one of the Intelligent Community Forum’s designations. Most will be likely competitors in Infrastructure Canada’s “Smart Cities Challenge” which is a pan-Canadian competition open to communities of all sizes, including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities. In fact, cities and communities around the world are undergoing digital transformations that are affecting the ways we live, work, and play.

SPEAKER BIO – ROB McCANN, President of the Hamilton Technology Centre.

Rob McCann is the founder of Clearcable Networks and the President of the Hamilton Technology Centre. Rob represents Clearcable as an inaugural board member of The Intelligent Community Forum Canada, a member of the Seneca College Communications Advisory Committee, and previously has served as a Director with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Ontario Chapter, a contributor to the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee, and a frequent keynote speaker at the Canadian Cable System Alliance, Canadian Independent Telephone Association, and National Cable Telephone Cooperative annual trade shows.

Rob’s active projects include work with ICF recognized Intelligent Communities by chairing the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Digital Infrastructure Working Group and providing technical insight to Sarnia’s Bluewater Regional Network. He was named the Canadian Independent Telephone Association’s 2016 Supplier of the Year and holds degrees in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and Economics from McMaster University.


GoWrench Auto raises $525,000


HAMILTON, ON, April 19, 2018 /CNW/ – Today, GoWrench Auto has announced a new funding raise of $525,000 CDN. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, GoWrench is a mobile automotive maintenance service that sends fully-vetted and certified mechanics directly to the customer, instead of the other way around.

GoWrench is currently available in over 45 cities across Canada, predominantly in Ontario and British Columbia. Key markets include Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley, and more. The raise will be used by GoWrench to scale-up operations, onboard mechanics, and develop on its B2B and consumer-facing platform.

“GoWrench is shaking up the auto maintenance industry and this raise is a testament to how many people support our vision and crave a change in this space,” said Josh Lombardo-Bottema, CEO and founder of GoWrench. “What started out as a spur-of-the-moment idea when my vehicle broke down has resulted in saving people time. With this funding, we’re incredibly excited to get the opportunity to offer our service to more consumers across Canada.”

Notable GoWrench investors include: Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE); Good News Ventures; Lindsay Adamson, an executive sales and mindset coach; and Sameer Kochhar, the founder of password storage company Last Pass.

“Through the Market Readiness Program, OCE funds companies like GoWrench to assist with early-stage commercialization and growth,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence. “The Customer Creation stream of the Market Readiness Program is designed to support companies looking to increase their customer base, and we are thrilled to see GoWrench do this by successfully disrupting in the automotive space.”

“At Good News Ventures, we back true grit entrepreneurs who are passionate, visionary and determined,” added Marat Mukhamedyarov, Managing Partner, Good News Ventures. “Josh has such qualities and we are excited to be on board with him to disrupt the automotive industry.”

GoWrench provides its fully-vetted, certified mechanics more autonomy when it comes to workflow and scheduling. GoWrench’s mechanics have more flexibility, more independence and more freedom to take on projects that they are interested in.

For more information or to use GoWrench, please visit

About GoWrench Auto

Based in Hamilton GoWrench Auto is a mobile automotive maintenance service that was started in early 2015. Customers request the service they need via the GoWrench platform and after receiving a quote, they can proceed with booking an appointment time for mechanics to complete the job.


Internet of Things meetup on May 1st


When: Tuesday May 1st 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Hamilton IoT Meetup



Andrew Wynn-Williams will be giving a presentation on his wireless sleep study tool. I will be talking about my recent experiences teaching IoT and electronics at Mohawk College. I will also be looking for input on the future of the meetup group and the upcoming (fall) IoT conference.

We are at the Pheasant Plucker now 🙂


Girls Learning Code Day 2018: Collaborative Game Production


When: Saturday May 12th 2018 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm

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

Organizer: Canada Learning Code – Hamilton Chapter



Technology is a powerful tool that can be used to change the world!

In this collaborative experience, learners work together to build a video game that addresses a social or environmental issue and works towards change. Learners will explore the game industry by experiencing what it’s like to work on different project teams, within a variety roles. As a group, we will track through the game development process together – from pre-production to post.

After brainstorming a game idea and creating a collective Game Design Document (GDD), learners will work to complete assignments using a variety of tools, programs, and languages. Each learner will explore 2 of 3 game production elements, including game-building, audio, and/or artworks creation.

At the end of the experience, learners will share their individual projects to reveal a series of video game levels that they can share with family and friends. They’ll also leave with a better understanding of how their favourite games came to be, and how they can incorporate coding into their existing interests and skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use technology to create positive change
  • Better explain the game development process
  • Apply personal interests and skills within the game industry
  • Work with a team to find creative solutions to problems
  • Create a collaborative video game in Scratch
  • Use the tools, languages, and programs learned to KEEP CODING!

This workshop is for girls ages 8-13. Our workshops are designed to give learning experiences that are fun, engaging, empowering and inspirational. Through hands-on, collaborative, project-based learning, kids end the workshop having built something. This workshop experience is designed to help kids see technology in a whole new light – as a medium for self-expression, and as a means for changing the world.


Inaugural CityLAB showcases student innovation


Hamilton, Ontario, April 11 2018 – CityLAB Hamilton opened its doors on April 5, 2018 to show Hamiltonians what the City and its partners Mohawk College, McMaster University and Redeemer University College have been working since the social innovation hub was launched in 2017. CityLAB matches City staff with students and faculty from the three academic institutions to develop solutions that align with Hamilton’s strategic priorities.

Eleven projects were featured in the Showcase. The projects brought together 172 students, 18 City staff and 15 faculty from the participating schools. In total, the students logged more than 6,000 hours working on the projects.

Mohawk was involved in three of the 11 projects featured, including a project aimed at improving travel times on the west mountain through signal timing optimization; a project to develop a digital tool to help newcomers find relevant local services, and a project to improve Hamilton’s subsidized housing while providing learning opporunities for students. See below for more information on the Mohawk projects or visit:


New youth coding + digital literacy program in Hamilton


April 9, 2018 – Ontario is helping young people between the ages of 12 and 15 learn to code and improve their digital skills, preparing them for jobs in an increasingly digital economy.

Today, the government announced its support for a new program, delivered in partnership with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. In Hamilton the program will be delivered by the Boys and Girls Club.

The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will provide up to 1,000 youth with valuable new skills in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, equipping them with in-demand skills employers are looking for.

The program was designed by experts in digital literacy, youth engagement, community development and education policy. It will be delivered by a different community partner in five cities across the province, including: Belleville, London, Sudbury, and Toronto.

Increasing digital literacy to grow tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario will invest $1 million over two years in the Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot, matching a private donation by Janice Fukakusa, Greg Belbeck, and family.
  • Ontario has committed to increasing the number of STEM graduates by 25 per cent, from 40,000 to 50,000 per year, and graduating 1,000 applied masters in Artificial Intelligence, both within five years, positioning
  • Ontario as the number-one producer of postsecondary STEM graduates per capita in North America.
  • The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship is an independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within Ryerson University, dedicated to making Canada the best country in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur.
  • Additional pilot partners include: Actua, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, the Information and Communications Technology Council, Canada Learning Code, RBC Capital Markets, Shopify, Toronto Public Library, YMCA, and United Way Toronto & York Region.


Eleanor McMahon

“There’s nothing like watching a kid pick up a new piece of tech and just get it. That’s why our government is partnering on a project that takes an important step toward a digitally inclusive province — one that will nurture curiosity, build a love of learning for young people and help prepare them for new job opportunities.”

Eleanor McMahon
President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital Government


Mitzie Hunter

“The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will go a long way in helping young people develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce for years to come. Our government understands that today’s in-demand skills are shifting — it’s why we made a commitment to increase Ontario’s STEM graduates by 25 per cent over the next five years. By supporting this program, we’re making sure Ontario’s workforce stays competitive and adaptable in the new digital economy.”

Mitzie Hunter
Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development


“While Canada’s youth are well-equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing future of work, not all segments of the population will experience these technological trends equally. We’re thrilled to be able to lift our research off the pages and to test a community-based model that has the potential to scale across the country.”
Sean Mullin
Executive Director, The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University


Ted McMeekin

“Our Kiwanis Boys+Girls Club is an ideal hub to pilot this innovative digital program. Our local youth stand a much greater chance for academic and career success with the tools that this creative investment provides.”

Ted McMeekin
MPP, Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale


Media Contacts

Lawvin Hadisi
Minister’s Office

Kate Vrancart
Communications Branch


ICF judge Robert Bell visits Hamilton


Last week ICF judge Robert Bell (@rbellicf) toured Hamilton as part of this year’s Intelligent Community Forum awards program.

The ICF is a think tank and research organization with the aim “to help communities use information and communications technology (ICT) to create inclusive prosperity, tackle social and governance challenges and enrich their quality of life”. In other words, how are cities using ICT in innovative ways to make life better for their citizens. Hundreds of cities have competed in the ICF competition to be named Intelligent Community of the Year and past winners include Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo.

In 2016, Hamilton made the ICF’s Smart21 finalist list. And this year, Hamilton made the Top7 list, prompting the visit from judge and ICF co-founder Robert Bell. Robert notably commented on the collaborative spirit of Hamilton. A jury will soon decide this year’s top winner.

Winning this competition would be great for Hamilton. City boosters (elected or otherwise) would be able to use it as a key marketing piece that Hamilton has shaken its old image and is now going in a new positive direction. It’s something we’ve all been saying ourselves for years now, but it’s different when it’s coming from external experts. So the really cool thing is it would be more than the usual ra-ra marketing puff, it would be truly good external validation from experts that look at cities around the world.

For a non-trivial amount of companies looking to expand operations, this external validation is key. We’re increasingly viewed as being part of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. Strong external recognition that we have more to offer than a cost advantage would be excellent.

All that said, participating in a process like this has its own reward. It forces cities to take a good assessment of where they are at, especially in relation to other cities. It exposes gaps and areas that need work (cough, broadband infrastructure), while making note of strengths.

Hopefully Hamilton wins, but if we don’t, it’s a great indicator that Hamilton ranked this high already, and the process itself has had value.

WordCamp Hamilton 2018 is coming!

WordCamp Hamilton (@WordCampHamOnt) returns to McMaster Innovation Park on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress, the free and open source personal publishing software that powers over 75 million sites on the web. WordCamps come in all different flavours, based on the local communities that produce them, but in general, WordCamps include sessions on how to use WordPress more effectively, beginning plugin and theme development, advanced techniques, security, etc.

The first WordCamp was organized in San Francisco by Matt Mullenweg in 2006, and since then local communities around the world have organized hundreds of others. The first WordCamp Hamilton took place in 2013, with additional events happening in 2015 and 2016.

The regularly occurring WordPress meetup group has done a fantastic job of keeping up momentum around the WordPress community in Hamilton. The next few meetups will be focused on gearing up for WordCamp.

Currently, WordCamp Hamilton is looking for local speakers and sponsors to help make this year’s event another success.

Looking for local speakers!

Do you work with WordPress and have some techniques, experiences or stories that you think might benefit others? If so, we’d love to have you consider sharing that information as a speaker. We’re always looking for local speakers to contribute. For more about speaking at WordCamp (including some topics if you want to speak, but aren’t sure what about), check out our call for speakers.

Sponsoring WordCamp 2018

Simply put, without our generous sponsors, WordCamp Hamilton would not be affordable to the vast majority of the WordPress community. For just $20 our attendees have a full day to gain insight from our speakers, network with others, and learn more about the open source WordPress project whose mission is to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. All of our valued sponsors, by donating to WordCamp Hamilton, continue to make this mission a reality. Thank you both to our sponsors, and all of those who sponsor WordCamps around the world! For more on sponsorship opportunities, check out our Call for Sponsors.

To stay updated with news about WordCamp Hamilton 2018 for ticket sale dates, volunteering opportunities and more, visit


Interview with Nataly Ling of Stand Media Solutions


Check out the interview below with Nataly Ling of Stand Media Solutions, a recently formed digital agency made up of graduates of the YWCA Women in Technology program.


Tell me about yourself

I started my journey in this beautiful city and country as a refugee. At the time (I was 5), Chile was undergoing civil strife under the military rule of a dictator named Pinochet. My family had to flee for our safety and we ended up in Hamilton. Because of the extreme nature of my coming to this country, my potential was never really properly utilized. Opportunities were not available for my parents so I had to work throughout my childhood. I was always told that I should accept doing menial labor even though I was always internally craving more. I love reading, learning and solving problems. I worked as a hair dresser prior and never felt like it was my proper place and always a job as opposed to a career. Things are very different now thanks to the Woman In Information Technology program – with web design and development tools under my belt, I truly feel like I have started a career which I can unlock my true potential and become the woman I need to be.


What is the Women in Information Technology program that you participated in?

The program is a pilot partnership between Mohawk College and YWCA Hamilton to help women in financially vulnerable situations gain a foot in the door so to speak in the web development industry and the technology industry in general. I was part of the latest year of the pilot, and it was 3 months of full-time intensive study followed by 3 months of internship working for the vibrant and fresh Hamilton web development industry.



How did you find the experience?

I loved the experience personally. It gave my family along with myself an economic opportunity I would never think possible. Not only was this financially liberating, it helped me find a passion I never knew I had. I love everything web design and development, and feel women like myself have something to offer this industry. I feel women like myself are NECESSARY for this industry, and Hamilton is full of opportunities waiting for investment. There are many women in similar situations that would benefit so much, especially in the Hamilton area (we don’t say we are part of the “rustbelt” for nothing). Women in vulnerable economic situations are unfortunately not represented equally in our field and so programs like Woman In Information Technology provide the necessary investment to make the necessary changes.


Which company did you intern with and what did you find most impactful about the experience?

The company I interned for was Parallel. They are an amazing digital product studio focused on building great user experiences. I learned a great deal about the web design and development industry working there – that technology is constantly updating so you need to keep up to date with trends. The experience showed me also I had what is necessary to succeed in this industry. I honestly felt at peace working there more so than I have in any occupation. It confirmed my suspicions from the schooling – that this field is my destiny.


What would you tell someone interested in learning computer programming for the first time?

I would ask them first if they are ready for a true test of character. Seriously, with computer programming there’s no room for bias. You will have to put aside your ego and accept mistakes are inevitable. It’s frustrating at first but if you keep at it like I have, you realize there are rewards to be reaped. To make a great analogy, it is the closest thing to becoming like Harry Potter in real life. I get to make REAL magic – provide people interactive solutions that satisfy their needs in ways they could only imagine.


What is Stand Media Solutions?

We are a team of diverse developer ladies that got inspired through the Woman In Information Technology Program and our mutual passion for all things web development and design. My ladies all have a keen eye for design and keep up with the latest developer trends and as a result provide web solutions the customer can rely on.



Why did you decide to create it?

We decided this business was necessary because we feel we can offer Hamilton a better future. I don’t know anyone more hard working than my coworkers in this organization. We all work diligently and feel warm and fuzzy completing successful projects. We want a better future for our families and felt this was the best way to do so. Now because of various industries expiring in our city among various other things, there are many women here in vulnerable financial situations unable to even get internet access. We want to be a force that can help change this, and give some opportunity for those whose potential was underestimated.


What type of projects are you looking to work on?

Websites, applications and everything in between. We enjoy working together as a team and creating web solutions our clients can rely on. We’ll work with the most up to date tools to provide you the tools necessary for your business to succeed online.


How will Stand Media Solutions differentiate itself from other digital agencies?

We feel user interface for various websites to be lacking. There seems to be a huge disconnect between the client and the programmer. It’s true, we live in different worlds, but the key to success in our industry is being the bridge that connects the two. We hope to be a better bridge for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area and eventually the world. As we are a group of amazing and diverse ladies we would eventually like to attract international investment as well as work with the international community to build better custom-made web solutions.


Where do you hope to see Stand Media Solutions going in the future?

We see ourselves in the future as an integral part of the GTHA in providing web solutions that fit the clients needs. We hope also to eventually be an international force to be reckoned with. Our primal vision is providing a successful service business that satisfies our customers and unlocking potential where neglected.


E-commerce meetup featuring Stephanie Shuster


When: Sunday April 15th 2018 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Hamilton E-Commerce and Online Entrepreneurs



Join us for Real People Doing Real Business Online at the Hamilton E-Commerce and Online Entrepreneurs Meetup!

Let’s get together to share, learn and grow together.

1) Meet & Greet

2) Show & Tell – Stephanie Shuster, founder of It’s a FanGirl World – A fun-loving, girl-powered community for Disney devotees. Stephanie will share her story and how she developed custom designs intended for Print On Demand apparel, home goods and technology accessories. Learn about the realities, challenges and strategies to succeed in this e-commerce niche.

3) Introductions

4) Questions & Networking

Bring your laptops and your projects.

Cost: Suggested donation $10.

Hamilton E-Commerce & Online Entrepreneurs No Solicitation Policy

Hamilton E-Commerce & Online Entrepreneurs members or guests may not solicit at any time, for any purpose, during Hamilton E-Commerce & Online Entrepreneurs events or related activities. This includes the distribution of materials, promotion or marketing of other businesses and/or professional services, unless pre-authorized by Hamilton E-Commerce & Online Entrepreneurs organizer.