Kingston is one of Canada’s oldest cities, founded at a strategic intersection of lakes and rivers, with an historic waterfront and an employer base of Federal and Provincial agencies that attracts more government grants per capita than any other city in the nation. It has been ranked Canada’s third best place to live and smartest city, thanks to deployment of an open-access community broadband network supplemented with investment in the Eastern Ontario Regional Network bringing 10 Mbps service to rural neighborhoods. More than 90% of Kingstonians now subscribe to broadband. But the economy’s heavy dependence on public sector spending makes Kingston vulnerable to decisions made far away, and local government has developed a multi-faceted strategy to diversify its economy while maintaining the culture and quality of life that residents treasure.
It is aided in this undertaking by the presence of Queen’s University, a top 10 research institution and St. Lawrence College, a 2-year institution with schools of business, computer and engineering technology, health sciences and skilled trades. Queen’s University founded an office in 1987, called PARTEQ Innovations, to identify intellectual property and support its commercialization. PARTEQ went on to build Innovation Park, where academic, business and government researchers work to pioneer new technologies and bring them to market.
Innovation has a particular focus in Kingston. The public, business, education and government have rallied around a goal to make environmental sustainability its focus. Local government launched a community planning process that resulted in Sustainable Kingston, a plan that gave rise to a nonprofit of the same name. As a result, most research and commercialization focuses on greentech and cleantech, from the Federal GreenCentre Canada research lab to a Fuel Cell Research Centre and High-Performance Virtual Computing Lab. Successful businesses are also pioneering in automation, life sciences and health technologies. In addition to sustainability, the city launched a Kingston Culture Plan in 2010 to increase the impact of the city’s already sizeable arts and culture economy, both for its own economic value and its attractiveness to creative professionals. City leaders see these efforts as steps in social transformation, helping a community that is already satisfied with its lot in life to seize the vast potential of the broadband economy.
Labor Force: 90,000
Smart21 2009 | 2014