Item - 2013.GM26.21

Tracking Status

  • This item was considered by Government Management Committee on November 21, 2013 and was deferred indefinitely. Consult the text of the decision for further information on the deferral.

GM26.21 - Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas

Decision Type:
Deferred Indefinitely

Committee Decision

The Government Management Committee deferred the item indefinitely.


(October 8, 2013) Report from City Council


Almost a decade ago, the City of Toronto partnered with Toronto Hydro to provide free wireless internet to the public in the downtown core. Unfortunately, this experiment faltered when it became a pay-for-use service hardly distinguishable from those services offered by for-profit corporations like Rogers and Bell.


Since then, we have fallen behind Canadian cities like Fredericton, New Brunswick, which offers free wi-fi coverage city-wide, and Edmonton, Alberta. An even greater concern for the City of Toronto should be the progress made by our closest competitors, including Chicago and New York City, where the municipal governments have used public-private partnerships to roll out extensive free wi-fi coverage.


I am writing to request that we re-visit this initiative and move quickly to provide free, reliable public wi-fi in our parks, the squares and plazas at our civic centres across the City including Nathan Phillips Square, and privately-owned public spaces (POPS). We should also work with our Business Improvement Area partners to facilitate wi-fi business districts.


Providing free public wi-fi in our parks and public spaces will signal to technology developers that Toronto is a tech-savvy jurisdiction and an excellent place to settle and do business. We already have a flourishing high-tech sector that has attracted the attention of tech giants like Google and Apple; we need to redouble our efforts to become an environment that supports the next Google.


In addition, free public wi-fi is an indispensible amenity for an increasing number of global tourists. International cellular data is expensive and inaccessible for most travellers who instead rely on infrequent and unreliable hotspots in some cafes and hotel lobbies. A city that provides free public wi-fi enables tourists to find their way off the beaten path to spend money in our neighbourhoods and get a more personal, authentic experience that will make them want to come back and visit again.


Finally, let’s not overlook the direct quality-of-life benefits for residents of Toronto. Imagine being able to work seamlessly under a tree in Mel Lastman Square or overlooking a baseball game in Christie Pitts Park. Not every city is blessed with great parks and public spaces like Toronto; we should take every excuse to get out and enjoy them, even if we are on the clock at work.


It’s time for Toronto not just to catch up with the opportunities of the twenty-first century, but to lead our peer cities in public wireless internet access.

Background Information

(November 1, 2013) Report from City Council on Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas
(August 30, 2013) Attachment - Letter from Councillor Josh Matlow, Ward 22 - St. Paul's


(November 12, 2013) E-mail from Martin Blank, PhD, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University (GM.New.GM26.21.1)
(November 11, 2013) Submission from Heather Nixon-Kemp and Malini Menon, on behalf of Kawartha Safe Technology Initiative (GM.New.GM26.21.2)
(November 13, 2013) E-mail from Dorethy Luyks-Ledgerwood (GM.New.GM26.21.3)
(November 13, 2013) E-mail from Wendy Cockburn (GM.New.GM26.21.4)
(November 13, 2013) E-mail from Kristin Morrison (GM.New.GM26.21.5)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Monica Fellin (GM.New.GM26.21.6)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Maria Faddoul (GM.New.GM26.21.7)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Rachel Foster, Professional Health and Fitness Coaching (GM.New.GM26.21.8)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Jean Grieve (GM.New.GM26.21.9)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Wendy Perkins (GM.New.GM26.21.10)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Charlene Acres (GM.New.GM26.21.11)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Carl Katz (GM.New.GM26.21.12)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Tammy Jeske (GM.New.GM26.21.13)
(November 18, 2013) Submission from Ashley Kirby (GM.New.GM26.21.14)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Craig Niziolek (GM.New.GM26.21.15)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Colin Morrison (GM.New.GM26.21.16)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg (GM.New.GM26.21.17)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Corina Van Sluytman (GM.New.GM26.21.18)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from David Waterhouse (GM.New.GM26.21.19)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Julie Fredette (GM.New.GM26.21.20)
(November 14, 2013) Submission from Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra (GM.New.GM26.21.21)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Albert Roffey (GM.New.GM26.21.22)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Denise Loft (GM.New.GM26.21.23)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Darren Perry (GM.New.GM26.21.24)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Michelle Lewin (GM.New.GM26.21.25)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Glen Cockburn (GM.New.GM26.21.26)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Eloa Doner (GM.New.GM26.21.27)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Concetta Vendittelli (GM.New.GM26.21.28)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Bernice Hawes (GM.New.GM26.21.29)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Joan Yates (GM.New.GM26.21.30)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Walt McGinnis (GM.New.GM26.21.31)
(November 14, 2013) Letter from Barbara Payne (GM.New.PG26.21.32)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Mariann Poirier (GM.New.GM26.21.33)
(November 14, 2013) Submission from Frank Clegg, Chief Executive Officer, Canadians for Safe Techonology (GM.New.GM26.21.34)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Wendy Hoy Bright (GM.New.GM26.21.35)
(November 18, 2013) Submission from Deborah Cherry (GM.New.GM26.21.36)
(November 14, 2013) E-mail from Brian Pekrul (GM.New.GM26.21.37)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Marcey Kliparchuk (GM.New.GM26.21.38)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Una St. Clair-Moniz (GM.New.GM26.21.39)
(November 15, 2013) Submission from Margaret Friesen (GM.New.GM26.21.40)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Jalal Benbrahim (GM.New.GM26.21.41)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Rhona Slomovic (GM.New.GM26.21.42)
(November 15, 2013) Letter from Dr. Kerry Crofton, Co-founder and Executive Director, Doctors for Safer Schools (GM.New.GM26.21.43)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Doug Stowe (GM.New.GM26.21.44)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Jim Whitworth (GM.New.GM26.21.45)
(November 15, 2013) Submission from Bill Trayling (GM.New.GM26.21.46)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Rodney Palmer (GM.New.GM26.21.47)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Dr. Karl Cox, University of Brighton, United Kingdom (GM.New.GM26.21.48)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Dan Welland (GM.New.GM26.21.49)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Devra Davis (GM.New.GM26.21.50)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Barbara Wallace (GM.New.GM26.21.51)
(November 14, 2013) Submission from Board of Directors, American Academy of Environmental Medicine (GM.New.GM26.21.52)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Tom Wilson (GM.New.GM26.21.53)
(November 15, 2013) Letter from Marilyn Gang (GM.New.GM26.21.54)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from S. Lawrence (GM.New.GM26.21.55)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Jane Johnston (GM.New.GM26.21.56)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Robert Connolly (GM.New.GM26.21.57)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Benita and Marcus Schluschen (GM.New.GM26.21.58)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Lak Rappon (GM.New.GM26.21.59)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Faye Harrison (GM.New.GM26.21.60)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Omeed and Suri Neekon (GM.New.GM26.21.61)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Ana Hourahine (GM.New.GM26.21.62)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Sharon O'Sullivan (GM.New.GM26.21.63)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Rick Tse (GM.New.GM26.21.64)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Anamaria Stolea (GM.New.GM26.21.65)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Deborah Cherry (GM.New.GM26.21.66)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Monika Durlak (GM.New.GM26.21.67)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Janet Johnson (GM.New.GM26.21.68)
(November 15, 2013) E-mail from Magda Farrell (GM.New.GM26.21.69)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Dorothy Rolin (GM.New.GM26.21.70)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Melinda Wilde (GM.New.GM26.21.71)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Hugh Scully (GM.New.GM26.21.72)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Geetha Menon (GM.New.GM26.21.73)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Carey Robertson (GM.New.GM26.21.74)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Alan Lavine (GM.New.GM26.21.75)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Marg Humphrey (GM.New.GM26.21.76)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Virginia Far (GM.New.GM26.21.77)
(November 16, 2013) E-mail from Penny Barsoum (GM.New.GM26.21.78)
(November 17, 2013) E-mail from William Blake (GM.New.GM26.21.79)
(November 17, 2013) E-mail from Mark Mueller (GM.New.GM26.21.80)
(November 17, 2013) E-mail from Jerry Flynn (GM.New.GM26.21.81)
(November 17, 2013) E-mail from Julie Gadsden (GM.New.GM26.21.82)
(November 17, 2013) E-mail from Sandra Zank (GM.New.GM26.21.83)
(November 18, 2013) Letter from Dr. Olle Johansson, Ph.D. Associate Professor, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet (GM.New.GM26.21.84)
(November 18, 2013) Submission from Lucy Sanford (GM.New.GM26.21.85)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Viorel Stolea (GM.New.GM26.21.86)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Anna Jones (GM.New.GM26.21.87)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Isabel Kaplan (GM.New.GM26.21.88)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Elaine Grotefeld (GM.New.GM26.21.89)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Erin Hill (GM.New.GM26.21.90 )
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Marta Lychacz (GM.New.GM26.21.91)
(November 18, 2013) E-mail from Lori Penner (GM.New.GM26.21.92)
(November 18, 2013) Submission from Magda Havas, Trent University (GM.New.GM26.21.93)
(November 19, 2013) Submission from Margaret Friesen (GM.New.GM26.21.94)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Shelley Wright (GM.New.GM26.21.95)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Dr. Lennart Hardell, Professor, Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Sweden (GM.New.GM26.21.96)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Melissa Kennedy (GM.New.GM26.21.97)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Brian Durkin (GM.New.GM26.21.98)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Sheena Symington (GM.New.GM26.21.99)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Denise Oleksijczuk (GM.New.GM26.21.100)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Darlene Litman (GM.New.GM26.21.101)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Clara Friesen (GM.New.GM26.21.102)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Arthur Firstenberg, President, Cellular Phone Task Force (GM.New.GM26.21.103)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Linda Kates (GM.New.GM26.21.104)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Oz Johnson (GM.New.GM26.21.105)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Sandra Walsh (GM.New.GM26.21.106)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Claude Hamel (GM.New.GM26.21.107)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Shelley Wright (GM.New.GM26.21.108)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Kelly Keegan (GM.New.GM26.21.109)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Hale Walsh (GM.New.GM26.21.110)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Catherine Wright (GM.New.GM26.21.111)
(November 19, 2013) E-mail from Britta Sonoski (GM.New.GM26.21.112)
(November 19, 2013) Letter from Murray Cunningham, President, Environmental Health Association of Manitoba (GM.New.GM26.21.113)
(November 19, 2013) Submission from Tina Bolton (GM.New.GM26.21.114)
(November 20, 2013) E-mail from Lorne Busse (GM.New.GM26.21.115)
(November 20, 2013) E-mail from Michelle Simoneau (GM.New.GM26.21.116)
(November 20, 2013) Letter from Diana Daghofer, Co-Chair, Prevent Cancer Now (GM.New.GM26.21.117)
(November 20, 2013) E-mail from Melissa Chambers (GM.New.GM26.21.118)
(November 20, 2013) Letter from Dr. Martha Herbert (GM.New.GM26.21.119)
(November 20, 2013) Fax from Mrs. Boyd (GM.New.GM26.21.120)
(November 20, 2013) Letter from Curtis Bennett (GM.New.GM26.21.121)
(November 21, 2013) Submission from Barbara Payne (GM.New.GM26.21.122)
(November 21, 2013) Submission from Barbara Payne (GM.New.GM26.21.123)
(November 21, 2013) Submission from Mary Ellis, Leslie Bockus and Family (GM.New.GM26.21.124)


Miroslav Glavic
Deborah McCutcheon
Ashley Kirby, Naturopathic Candidate, c4st
Dan Welland
Wendy Cockburn, Canadians For Safe Technology
Kristin Morrison
Veronica Ciandre
Michael Lizotte, Practical EMF Remedies and Electrical Services
Rob Metzinger, President, Safe Living Technologies
Barbara Payne
Arlene Dewdney
Councillor Josh Matlow


1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Pam McConnell (Redundant)



1.         City Council request the City Manager to explore the possibility of expanding public wi-fi service to the City's public realm, including parks, City squares, BIAs, and the TTC to promote economic development, tourism, respond to an equity gap and improve the quality of life for Toronto residents.


2.         City Council direct that the City issue a Request for an Expression of Interest in 2014 for potential private sector and not for profit partners to see this initiative through to fruition.


3.         City Council direct that a pilot project for free public wifi hotspots in Nathan Phillips Square be undertaken in 2014 subject to the budget process.

2 - Motion to Defer Item Indefinitely moved by Councillor Mary Fragedakis (Carried)

That the Government Management Committee defer consideration of the item indefinitely.

Source: Toronto City Clerk at