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Kingston in the running for ICF top spot

March 17, 2014 -

Kingston will take the global stage on March 20 and 21 when New York-based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) co-founder Louis Zacharilla visits Kingston to evaluate the city as a contender for the #1 Intelligent Community for 2014. 

"Being a Top 7 ICF Intelligent Community out of 400 global submissions speaks to our leadership in economic competitiveness, creating opportunities for emerging technologies, and enhancing our quality of life," said Mayor Mark Gerretsen. "During Mr. Zacharilla's visit, we will showcase the best of our community to truly show where history and innovation thrive."

Mr. Zacharilla's two day visit will include:

March 20 – Intelligent Community Workshop

Mr. Zacharilla will hear from local industry leaders during Kingston's first Intelligent Community Workshop on what makes Kingston an Intelligent Sustainable Community.

Following presentations from the guest speakers, he will join 80 community leaders in an interactive workshop to develop ideas on how to create economic prosperity and social well-being through the ICF process.

March 21 – Interactive community site visit

Mr. Zacharilla will visit several community partners throughout the city including: Innovation Park, Queen's University Innovation Connector, Human Media Lab, Audioconexus, Kingston Maker's Space, Tri-Art, Stantive Technologies, Pathways to Education and the Kingston Community Health Centre.

Representatives from the ICF are visiting each of the Top 7 communities, including two other Canadian cities -- Winnipeg and Toronto -- before announcing the top community at its annual summit in June.  Kingston is the first city to be visited.

"I would be lying if I said that Kingston is not the 'dark horse' of this year's Top7, which is the reason I am very excited about visiting and getting a close look at their progress," said Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder of the ICF. "They are another of the communities we talk about as being the engines for a global renaissance. Few know about them or what they have accomplished, which will change with the Top7 designation. They think they are 'seriously smart' and they are. They are smart enough to know that building a community for the 21st century is like painting a canvas. It is always unfinished business. It is always a work in progress, but in the end it remains the most satisfying thing a community can attempt to do."

In January, Kingston was chosen as a Top 7 Intelligent Community based on a collaborative application between the City of Kingston, KEDCO and Utilities Kingston. Cities were asked to frame their application on the theme ‘Community as Canvas' and how culture and heritage add social and economic value to communities.

The City was selected on programs and initiatives based on five key intelligent community indicators -- broadband access, a knowledge-based workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, and marketing and advocacy.

"Kingston continues to demonstrate its dedication to becoming a more intelligently sustainable community," said John Johnson, Executive Director Sustainable Kingston. "From Focus Kingston to the creation of Sustainable Kingston, we are fostering activities across our community to reach our goal of becoming Canada's Most Sustainable City." 

Being a Top7 ICF city is a great acknowledgment, but to be seriously smart, the city wants to engage residents on the challenges and opportunities to broadband access, sustainable entrepreneurship, community inclusion through digital media, small business marketing, and cost effective ways for knowledge-based business to succeed. will launch on March 20 to kick off the ICF visit and Kingston's Community Workshop. For more information on the ICF, the ICF Summit June 2 – 5 in New York, or the other communities in the running visit:


Media contact: For more information contact Cindie Ashton, Media Relations Officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 3116. Or call Communications at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.

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