Guelph-Wellington awarded Smart Cities Challenge prize

Alison Springate
Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 14 May 2019

Guelph, Ont., May. 14, 2019—It’s official: Guelph and Wellington County learned late this afternoon they will receive $10 million from Infrastructure Canada to implement their Smart Cities vision: Our Food Future, Canada’s first circular food economy.

The joint proposal from City of Guelph and Wellington County was submitted in early March after nine months of planning involving more than 150 community partners. The program will now forge ahead in tackling three bold goals:

  • 50 per cent increase in access to affordable, nutritious food;
  • 50 new circular food business and collaboration opportunities; and
  • 50 per cent increase in economic revenues by reducing or transforming food waste.

“We are proud and honoured to have been selected from amongst so many worthy and deserving communities. This award is a testament to the great work of everyone who contributed to this team effort. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for this significant investment in food security and innovation.”

Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph

“Guelph-Wellington is rich in agriculture. This win provides both the City and the County the opportunity to strengthen our urban-rural partnership and lean into our strengths in food innovation. We look forward to working with our community to move this important work forward.”

Kelly Linton, County of Wellington Warden

What’s next? City and County project coordinators will spend the summer building the leadership and governance structure, creating a detailed project plan and establishing a Smart Cities Office. A progress update will be provided to stakeholders and the community in Fall 2019.

In the meantime, community members, partners and other interested parties can receive more information about Our Food Future and the nine priority projects at

About the Smart Cities Challenge

The Smart Cities Challenge is a Canada-wide competition open to communities of all sizes. The Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology. The City of Guelph and County of Wellington’s Our Food Future initiative is one of only 10 finalists in our population category to be awarded $250,000 to further develop our bid for a $10 million prize. We placed our food innovation vision at the heart of our bid, which was submitted on March 5, 2019. Winners will be announced mid-2019.

About Our Food Future

We imagine a food system where everyone can access nutritious food, nothing is wasted, and the impact on our environment is minimal. We envision a system where food experts and entrepreneurs come together to tackle our most complex food challenges. Guelph/Wellington is where food problems are solved, and we envision becoming Canada’s first technology-driven Circular Food Economy with three bold goals:

  • 50 per cent increase in access to affordable, nutritious food;
  • 50 new circular food businesses, collaborations and social enterprises; and
  • 50 per cent increase in economic revenues by reducing and reimagining our food waste.

Already, much work has been done to move from the current “take-make-dispose” system to a sustainable and thriving food economy that contributes new jobs, and values our planet, health, equity and dignity for everyone.

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber
Executive Director, Strategy, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services
519-822-1260 extension 3066

Jana Burns
Director of Economic Development, County of Wellington
519-837-2600 extension 2525