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Top moments from cities in 2018

From legalization of cannabis to the continuing conversation about data, a look at the past year through an urban lens.

Top image caption: Calgary was named the top North American city of livability.

Published on December 18, 2018

The last 12 months has proven to be an impactful one for our cities and their residents. To mark the end of 2018, we’re taking a look back on some of the top urban moments.

Cannabis legalization

There is no doubt that the legalization of cannabis was a huge moment for Canada this year. As one of the first countries to legalize the drug, the news made headlines around the world.

While provincial governments have had to decide what legalization looks like in their provinces, cities are joining the conversation, discussing everything from how people purchase products to who operates sales.

Row housing in toronto

More housing options

We believe that a healthy housing ecosystem means a diversity of housing options in the right shape, size and location for residents. Our cities made huge strides adding to this ecosystem in 2018.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Endowment Fund will help the city reach its target of building 72,000 affordable units over 10 years.

In Toronto, laneway suites was passed at city council making it easier for homeowners to build secondary detached structures on their property to densify established neighbourhoods.

SDG commitment

In its 2018 budget, the Government of Canada earmarked $49.4 million over 13 years to establish a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) unit. This unit will enable coordination across sectors on Canada’s efforts on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This is a step forward for Canada in regards to building low-carbon and resilient cities, with Goal 11 of the UN’s SDGs focused around building sustainable cities and communities.

Indigenous names in public spaces

In June of this year, Vancouver gave public plazas Indigenous names as part of the city’s ongoing reconciliation process with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Similar developments were made in Toronto, including the proposal to give public parks Indigenous names. This includes the Don River Valley Park, proposed to be named Wonscotonach Parklands.

Urban Data

While a talking point starting last year with Waterfront Toronto announcing their partnership with Sidewalk Toronto, the urban data conversation heated up in Ontario’s capital this year.

But the topic didn’t just stay confined to Toronto. With each passing month in 2018, the need for a national urban data strategy has become clear as more Canadians make it known that open data and transparency is important to them.

Smart Cities Challenge participants at the Summit.
Smart Cities Challenge finalists participate in a session at the Future Cities Canada Summit.

Smart Cities Challenge

In 2018, Infrastructure Canada announced the 20 finalists of the Smart Cities Challenge. Each of these finalists will receive $250,000 to further develop their proposals.

For Evergreen, this moment was made even larger when we, along with OpenNorth, were announced as leads of the Community Support Program.

Municipalities coming together

In the midst of a tumultuous time for Toronto with the announcement of a cut to its city council, municipalities banded together.

From coast to coast mayors voiced support for Toronto’s city council and the importance of a robust and working local government, including Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage and Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, to name a few.

Top livable cities

The Economist’s annual “Most Livable Cities” list named Calgary the fourth most livable city worldwide and the best in North America.

Vancouver and Toronto made the top 10 at sixth and seventh, respectively.

As for the importance of this, we’ll let Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s tweet say it all: “This is a very big deal. We are ranked the best city to live in North America and fourth best in the world. Let’s shout that from the rooftops!”