Abbotsford is the largest city, outside Vancouver, in the province of British Columbia and is among the most diverse in Canada. More than a quarter of its population of 150,000 hails from south Asia, mostly from the Indian state of Punjab. The city borders the United States to the south and is part of the Vancouver metroplex, which has gifted it with both an independent economy and participation in the economic sphere of western Canada’s gateway city.
Eighty percent of city lands are protected for agricultural use, and its farmers make good use of that land, earning the highest income per acre of any place in Canada. Other important industries are transportation, manufacturing and retail. The city is home to the University of the Fraser Valley and an international airport. The Abbotsford Regional Hospital is its largest employer. Given these assets, the challenge that Abbotsford has set itself is to leverage them for growth in a global economy that is dominated by digital while preserving an enviable quality of life and a culture whose roots date back to 1858.
Guiding the journey is Plan 200K, which envisions what the city will be like when its population grows to 200,000 residents. Plan 200K began with an intensely interactive work of advocacy, which drew on 8,000 interactions with residents over two years. From these conversations, Abbotsford established four cornerstones for the future: a vibrant economy, a complete community, fiscal discipline and alignment of all parts of local government in carrying out the vision.
Following community engagement, city government updated all of the master plans governing transportation, utilities, parks, the historic downtown and agricultural lands. Sustainability was an important issue because the projected growth in population will be concentrated in just 20% of the city’s land area. Sustainability goals are baked into Plan 200K, and projects have already achieved reduction in energy consumption by 320,000 kWh per year, diversion of nearly 16,000 tonnes of waste through recycling and composting, and expansion of water metering throughout the city.
Food is Not Just for Export
The planning exercise also uncovered a disconnect in the city’s economy and culture. Agriculture is a vital industry, yet the community exports nearly everything it grows and lacks a local food culture. Access to local food is limited and local businesses have little incentive to support local food producers.
To change the culture, the city partnered with a local brewer, the Chamber of Commerce, Regional District and a community market to create the Valley Field and Farm Collective. This nonprofit organization brings together a cross-section of people from the community to integrate food production into community life and boost local commerce in food. Not by coincidence, its founder also chairs Abbotsford’s Community Innovation Partnership, started by the Economic Development Department to foster an innovation ecosystem throughout the community.
Funded by private investors, government grants and community banking partners, the Collective launched a summer farmers market in 2018, where local growers sold directly to the public and local businesses. Later in the same year, the Collective began executing a more ambitious plan to create a central kitchen and food innovation hub, communal brewhouse, local food café, music venue and community rental space.
On its base of traditional industries, Abbotsford is also laying the foundations of an innovation ecosystem for the city. It decided to focus on youth. In 2010, Vancouver established a program called CityStudio and in 2018, Abbotsford imported the program in partnership with University of Fraser Valley (UFV) and a secondary school. CityStudio is an innovation hub where students, city staff and community volunteers co-create experimental projects – online services and prototype products – that aim to make the city more sustainable, livable and joyful.
For secondary and university students, Abbotsford’s CityStudio provides practical learning about real-world challenges, career training, exposure to local business and the chance to gain valuable skills. For city government, the dialogue with students and experimental projects are shifting the culture of City Hall from perpetuating the past to innovating for the future. In its first year, CityStudio held 18 classes for students and city staff and launched 11 experimental projects, of which one on reducing littering in city parks won an award from UFV and was featured in a TedX event in Abbotsford.
Fiber to the Premise
Abbotsford represents an attractive market for communication carriers, because so much of its population is concentrated in a small share of its land. As a result, the incumbent phone company Telus has invested more than C$80 million to connect over 90% of homes and businesses to its fiber optic network at no cost to taxpayers. Completed in 2017, the fiber-to-the-premise network provides upload and download speeds of 300 Mbps with the potential to increase to 1 Gbps. Another fiber network has been deployed by Zayo to serve the high-capacity needs of data centers and technology companies. And as a result of a partnership with ICF Canada, Shaw approached the city with an offer to expand its public Wi-Fi capacity, so that by the middle of 2018, the company had 1,000 hotspots acrss the city including in all city-owned facilities.
With this kind of capacity, the city’s digital equality efforts have focused less on access and more on programs to help citizens use the connectivity to improve their lives. The library system offers an online learning collection featuring thousands of video courses, including language education. E-books and audiobooks are available online, as is a database of magazines, a car repair database and free music library. About half of Abbotsford residents are regular users of these services, each developing skills and experience with digital platforms that will pay dividends in the future.
Abbotsford’s Intelligent Community project is in the early stages of implementation, but it is grounded in careful plans developed in close collaboration with the community. The culture of that community draws on the best of farming tradition: hard and steady work toward the goal, staying steadfast in the face of setbacks, and caring for the land. In the plans and early results, it is possible to see the vision of an Abbotsford of 200,000 people ready to prosper in the decades ahead.
(25 October 2018 – New York City and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) – In a live ceremony in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and global online announcement from its New York headquarters, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2019.
Selection of this group of cities and counties begins the eight-month process through which ICF will, in June, name one of them as its 2019 Intelligent Community of the Year. More than semi-finalists for an international award, the Smart21 represent the best models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age, in the judgment of ICF and its team of independent analysts. Moving beyond the technology focus of the smart city movement, they are on the road from Smart to Intelligent.Read more
On October 25, ICF will be announcing the Smart21 Communities of 2019 during an event taking place in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. ICF co-founder John Jung sits down with Lou Zacharilla to discuss the event, in this week's Intelligent Community podcast. Learn more about the event here.
- John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
As we approach the 2018 Smart21 Announcement in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on October 25, 2018, there is an added twist to this event this year, a Community Roundtable. It will be a great opportunity for communities to showcase their cities, towns and regions, but equally important is the fact that these are all Canadian communities, big and small, urban and rural, that had previously been recognized by ICF’s adjudicators as a SMART21, TOP7 or Intelligent Community of the Year. They will each speak to what makes their community smart and intelligent and what some of their key challenges were and what solutions they applied to resolve these challenges. Some may even brag about how this process has helped their community focus their transformation to become smart cities and intelligent communities. And some may even boast about how their use of the brand as a SMART21 city or TOP7 Intelligent Community may have helped them attract investors, jobs and talent to their communities.Read more
“There are few things in life that are free. Being recognized as an Intelligent Community may just be one of them.”
That was the beginning of the blog on August 5, 2015 about the benefits that communities can expect by successfully applying to be recognized as a SMART21 Intelligent Community via https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/nominations. I have often been asked what the benefits are from the unique ICF Awards Program and I have referred them to the original blog from August 2015. But three years later, I felt we needed to update the original. Besides, the original listed only 12 benefits. Today, we are listing an amazing Top 20 Reasons.Read more
As a 25-year resident of Hudson, Jim Stifler has chosen to perform his encore career as the City of Hudson’s Chief Economic Officer. After a successful 33-year career as a Wall Street executive, Jim is able to showcase his extensive private sector experiences and use his strong ties in the community to move the City forward.Read more
York is a very unusual municipality. It is actually an amalgamation of nine cities, towns and townships that was founded in 1971, as well as a reserve where the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation reside. It covers more than 1,760 square kilometers (680 square miles) from the northern border of Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, to rural area on the shores of Lake Simcoe, in what the Canadians like to call “cottage country.” It is about as diverse – geographically, economically, socially and politically – as a community can rightly be.
Diversity has strengths. The municipality is Canada's third largest business hub, home to 600,000 jobs and 51,000 businesses. Most are concentrated in the affluent southern cities of Markham and Vaughan and the town of Richmond Hill, which also serve as bedroom communities for Toronto. Companies with headquarters and other major facilities in York Region include IBM, Lucent, Honeywell, Apple, Genesis Microchip, Compugen, Huawei, Compuware, Lexmark and Rogers Communications. The farther north you go, however, the more that technology gives way to historic downtowns, farmlands, wetlands and forest. A road network laid out in the 1790s connect north and south, east and west, and an effective transit system, including bus rapid transit, helps unite the municipality into a whole.
Geographic size and diversity also bring challenges. The southern cities and towns are well-served by private-sector broadband carriers but as in any other urban-rural community, less-populated areas are not. To overcome the digital divide, York launched a Regional Broadband Strategy in 2014 to identify connectivity strengths, gaps and opportunities. A Broadband Strategy Advisory Task Force comprised of local Mayors and Regional Councillors was formed in 2015 to guide the execution of the Broadband Strategy. This included the formation of YorkNet - a corporation created to manage and oversee the expansion of York Region’s open access dark fibre network to support the operational requirements of York and its local municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. Private carriers are also able to leverage this network to enable the delivery of services to businesses, institutions and residents.
Among its prouder achievements was the 2015 installation of an Ontario Research & Innovation Optical Network (ORION) point-of-presence at Southlake Regional Health Centre in the Town of Newmarket and the completion of a fibre connection to the York University Campus in the City of Toronto. ORION is a high-speed fiber network dedicated to research and education, which connects more than 2 million users including advanced computing centers across the Province of Ontario. The ORION Point-of-Presence at Southlake makes the network more accessible to York’s municipal governments, schools, local incubators and healthcare facilities; allowing the same connectivity and computing assets as the most advanced R&D institutions in Ontario.
Leveraging the existing strengths of the region, York has partnered with the Province of Ontario and the Town of Newmarket to develop NewMakeIt, a digital innovation hub and makerspace for members of the local community. It provides entrepreneurs and creative professionals with co-working space, high-speed broadband, tools and technologies to turn ideas into commercial products and services. In its first two years of operation, NewMakeIt fostered the creation of 12 new businesses and helped 17 existing ones expand their operations, with an estimated economic impact of C$3.9 million. But it is not just about business starts. NewMakeIt also offers a Repair Café, where the public can learn how to fix household items, robotics enthusiasts gather to build, and workshops train members in everything from woodworking to 3D printing.
Diversity can also mean inequality of opportunity. The Regional Municipality has launched digital equality programs in partnership with its many cities and towns. They include free Wi-Fi access at administrative facilities, libraries, transit terminals, recreational centers, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Libraries in rural communities offer the ability to check out high-speed wireless modems with a library card, and in-person and online skills training from basic computer skills to continuing adult education.
York is also investing in modernizing its transportation network to better serve residents in rural and urban areas. Mobile transit payment solutions are reducing waste and speeding processing. Expanded video monitoring along roadways and improved control of signal systems are easing congestion and delays. The C$20 million initiative uses Bluetooth device tracking and a data sharing partnership with Waze to develop a rich and real-time portrait in data of transportation patterns, so that the municipality can develop solutions that serve the entire region.
A Regional Municipality like York is an unusual thing. It enables its individual cities and towns to do much more than they could alone, and to pursue collective solutions to individual problems. It also challenges them to see past their traditional boundaries – to realize that the success of one community in winning inward investment or new jobs is not a loss for its neighbors but a multiplier that makes them all more successful. While leaving local governance to its cities and towns, the Regional Municipality is coordinating and attracting investment in the technology foundations of balanced, inclusive growth for the greater community.
Few communities can boast of having a globally recognized scenic wonder on their border. The city of Niagara Falls can. The Niagara River divides Canada and the US and, at the Falls, more than 168,000 cubic meters (6 million cubic feet) of it plunge 60 meters (190 ft) down into the Lower Niagara.
Such a massive source of hydroelectric power attracted electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical industries in the first half of the 20th Century. But the rise of global competition in the Seventies and Eighties eroded their competitiveness, and tourism became the city’s most important business. The Canadian side of the Falls offers superb views, but promoting tourism was not left to nature. The province of Ontario has a legal drinking age of 19 compared to 21 in the US, which tends to draw young consumers across the border. The province also legalized gambling in the mid-1990s, and by 2004, Niagara Falls boasted two major casinos and numerous luxury hotels.
Building the Foundation
Even with a spectacular waterfall thundering nearby, tourism can be a slender threat on which to hang a community’s economy. The leadership of Niagara Falls has committed itself to laying the foundation of an economy that can prosper in the digital age, create high-quality employment, and equip its people with the skills to make the most of it.
When it became clear that communications carriers would not invest significantly in the region, the city helped found the Niagara Regional Broadband Network (NRBN) in 2004. Its original goal was to meet the high-speed connectivity needs of municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals in the region. Once the network was operational, it expanded service to business customers. Today, it consists of 700 km of optical fiber with eight points of presence serving 680 sites in the region. NRBN also leases telecom carrier hotel facilities in Toronto and Buffalo to provide high-quality global connections. It has proved instrumental in retaining employers by allowing them to optimize operations.
If technology is one foundation, people are another. Niagara Falls currently has the educational demographics typical of a tourist destination. Fourteen percent of the population has an undergraduate degree or higher, while 42% have a community college certificate or “some college” in their background. The city is investing at the ground floor in the long process of changing those demographics.
Multiple programs focus on teaching elementary and high school teachers how to use technology and incorporate it into their work. The Blended Learning Institute trains math and science teachers to effectively combine digital and online content with traditional teacher-led instruction. A computer science track teaches them programming and web design, as well as how to make these topics accessible to all learners. This is complemented by a provincial program called IT4Learning, where online content connects with in-class teaching and gives students more control over the pace at which they learn. Participating students can access coursework anytime, anywhere, and teachers can interact with students and fellow teachers in a secure online environment. The highest expression of this educational innovation is Teach One, a program that provides mastery-based learning. Students are assigned groups based on skill level and learning style rather than age. They participate in skill-building activities alone, in groups and with teachers. They are assessed daily to determine their mastery, and this assessment guides the next day’s lessons. Teach One equips teachers with unprecedented real-time data on how their students are doing, and ensures that students master one foundational principle or skill before moving to the next.
Behind much of this innovation is a government-university project called ihub Niagara. It is an incubator with portfolio companies that focus on educational technology for kindergarten through university. Like any incubator, it provides technical assistance and professional services to help start-ups develop products and services and bring their first customers on board. It is distinct in its partnership with the city’s schools and nearby community college and university. It hosts quarterly Dragon’s Den-style events that bring together educators and edtech startups to review emerging tech solutions against real challenges in school communities. It provides a safe space for educators to critically evaluate new products and offer early-stage feedback that helps develop better products to serve their needs.
Enriching the Ecosystem
The ihub Niagara incubator is only one part of an emerging innovation ecosystem in a 12-muncipality region. It includes a business development district in Niagara Falls, the Spark Niagara Accelerator, the nonprofit Innovate Niagara, the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center at Niagara College and the Biolinc incubator at Brook University focusing in biotechnology. This set of partnerships is overseen by the Niagara CIO Consortium, which unites the technology leadership of the city, a regional chamber of commerce, the school board and participating colleges and universities.
The drive to prosper in the digital economy focuses not only on the future. To address lack of digital skills in today’s population, the library system offers computer access and technology training programs, and is building a makerspace. This is part of a broader Digital Inclusion Framework that has served more than 12,000 participants ages 12 to 65 and offered 7,500 hours of training to end-users and another 3,800 to the volunteers who provide the training. Volunteerism is central to the program: 99% of the people who staff it are volunteers working with such charities as the Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club and United Way. The digital training they provide has immediate relevance to its recipients, because it focuses on health and wellness, education, employment and engagement in the community.
Beyond the Falls
In 2012, the city launched the Connect Conference as showcase for its educational technology cluster and a driver of continued innovation. Every year, it attracts 2,000 education leaders, CIOs, directors of education, IT experts, business managers and government officials, and its program covers the complete educational cycle from kindergarten to higher education, libraries and workplace learning.
The roaring Falls will never stop being a vital contributor to the economy and culture of the city on its Canadian side. Niagara Falls aspires, however, to be much more than a place to gamble, party and admire the view. It is on the path to becoming a place where digital technology drives innovation, creates new jobs and new industries, and providing a rewarding quality of life for coming generations.
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons, Kai Lehmann Niagara Falls, commercial use allowed
Kinmen County is an archipelago of islands separated from mainland China by a mile or so of water. But it is part of Taiwan, whose main island lies 100 miles (161 km) to the east. That geographical oddity has done much to determine the county’s past – and also hold the keys to its future.
Kinmen became part of Taiwan in 1912 and was occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, the PRC laid claim to Kinmen, which triggered its transformation into a military base that was home to more than 100,000 soldiers. The base withstood heavy artillery fire during two Taiwan Strait crises in the 1950s. It would be nearly 40 years until the military control of Kinmen County was lifted. That milestone in cross-Strait relations, however caused annual economic growth in the county to plummet from 10.5% to under 1% in the following ten years.
By 2014, only 3,000 soldiers were still stationed in the county. But in that same year, Kinmen received 1.2 million tourists and other visitors from mainland China, the rest of Taiwan and the Chinese populations of Singapore, Malaysia and other nations. An economy built on conflict had found a new focus and the leaders of Kinmen County were determined to continue its growth and create a diverse economy capable of retaining young talent and connecting its citizens to the world.
The epicenter of the tourist economy is the Kinmen National Park, which preserves the vast military infrastructure of what is known locally as the Battlefield. One out of every three visitors tours the military camps and enjoys digital, interactive and real-life simulation games that recreate the tensions of the 1950s. These include interactive touchscreens and a 3D tour map accessible both onsite and through a mobile app, while a Facebook page and YouTube channel provide external marketing. In 2009, the county launched the world’s only Tunnel Music Festival, which takes place in one of the vast tunnels constructed to protect military supplies. It now attracts thousands of tourists from around the world each year.
The county has also poured investment into restoring hundreds of historic buildings that showcase traditional architecture. An interest-free loan program encourages young adults to launch tourism-related businesses such as guesthouses there. Two major real estate developments are also driving tourism as well as creating local employment. The Wind Lion Plaza provides duty-free international boutiques focusing on regional culture and green technologies. The Golden Lake Hotel attracts both tourists and business people from China and Taiwan. They take advantage of Kinmen’s new role as a weekend tourist destination for Taiwanese and Chinese mainlanders, and the relocation of businesspeople to the island for easier access to the vast markets of the mainland.
Seeding a Knowledge Economy
Kinmen County leaders are not content, however, with attracting visitors and their spending. County government has invested millions of New Taiwan Dollars (NTD) in education. The Taiwan Academic Network provides gigabit connectivity to primary and secondary schools as well as universities and cultural and research centers, with a submarine cable link to the network center in Taoyuan (a Top7 Intelligent Community, most recently in 2017). Schools run robotics summer camps and Digital Opportunity Centers provide training courses and enrichment activities for students ranging from age three to seventy-eight, regardless of income level. The county operates five senior learning centers for its elderly population offering courses in life safety, healthcare, advocacy and, of course, digital skills, which have reached tens of thousands of residents.
Kinmen County is also home to multiple institutions of higher learning, including National Quemoy, Ming Chuan, Nanhua and National Tsing Hua Universities. In addition to general courses, many offer education on R&D, technology, business, innovation and food processing.
These support parts of the economy having little to do with tourism. The Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor distillery, established by the county in 1953, has substantially upgraded its operations, distribution and marketing. Its Kaoliang fortified wine has a 75% market share across Taiwan. Because the long military occupation of Kinmen left so much of the land undeveloped, the county also has a large livestock industry, which generates half of the value of the county’s agricultural economy. Beginning in 2006, with the encouragement of county government, the distillery worked with the Livestock Research Institute on re-purposing as cattle feed the large volume of rice, malt and grain residue left from brewing. The livestock industry, with support from a national government ministry, is also moving up the value chain. A NTD 100 million investment has created the county’s first meat processing plant, and innovative companies are developing businesses that turn by-products, such as excess fat, into skin care products and bath supplies instead of burying them in landfills.
Between 10 and 15% of university graduates choose to remain in Kinmen County and seek employment each year. The universities, along with the Industrial Development and Investment Committee of Kinmen, hosts career fairs and has re-purposed an abandoned military base as the home for start-up companies. County government has spurred innovation in its small-to-midsize business sector with millions of NTD for research, which has produced nearly double that level of private-sector investment and additional revenues of nearly 130 million NTD as of the end of 2017.
Conservation and sustainability are important values in Kinmen County. Investments in solar power systems, wind turbines and microgrid energy storage are meeting one-fifth of total demand for electricity. The Low Carbon Island program, launched in 2013, led government to install 5,000 kW of solar systems on public buildings, schools and universities, leading to a reduction of 1.24 million kilograms of carbon dioxide through May 2017.
The foundation for these positive changes lies in the network. In keeping with the national i-Taiwan program, Kinmen County has installed hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots across its offices, libraries, tourist attractions and public transport and facilities. In the five years ending in 2017, the wireless network supported more than 43,000 sessions with traffic of 3,900 Gbits. So successful has unwired broadband been that the usage rate of fixed broadband actually decreased slightly from 2012 to 2017, when mobile broadband adoption reached 93%.
Yet the past is never far away in Kinmen County. One of its unique products is the Kinmen Knife. It was developed by local artisans from the remains of the artillery shells fired by China into the county in the Fifties, and the high-quality knives are sought after by chefs and connoisseurs. In sharp contrast to those times, Kinmen County imports more goods from the mainland than from Taiwan due to the lower costs. The county’s future will continue to depend on combining the best of both worlds for the benefit of its people.
Photo by Seasurfer, Wikimedia Commons. Used under the Free GNU Documentation License.
For additional images of Kinmen County, see “Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands, Only a Few Miles From Mainland China”, The Atlantic, October 18, 2015.
Founded in the late 1800s in rural Alberta, Olds has been a small farming community for most of its history. Over the past twenty years, however, it has developed into an educational and technology center capable of luring tech entrepreneurs from the nearby city of Calgary. Olds has focused its efforts on its traditionally rural needs, bringing fiber-optic broadband access to even its most remote citizens as well as an expansive learning campus that includes both local high schools and Olds College.
A Connected Community Network
Olds was the first town in its region to offer gigabit Internet speeds through its community-owned and operated Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, O-Net. In 2010, the non-profit Olds Institute for Community & Regional Development borrowed funds from the Town of Olds and combined it with grant money from the Province of Alberta to develop O-Net. Once the network was complete, the Olds Institute sought a local provider to offer triple play services to the public, but none chose to do so. Taking the lead again, the Olds Institute created its own local telecommunications company to offer such services. As of today, 100% of sites in Olds have broadband capability with over 90% of the population making use of services.
Creating a Community Learning Center
As of 2006, the Olds High School was in serious need of a new building, as rapid development in the area had left it separated from its sportsfields and secondary facilities by a highway. Rather than simply replace the school, however, the town decided to develop a Community Learning Campus, inspired by the Alberta government’s Rural Development Initiative. Local businesses partnered with Olds College, Chinook’s Edge School Division and the Town of Olds to fundraise for the project. The result was a 77-million-dollar educational, employment and cultural “commons” in a traditionally rural region with little access to modern educational tools or the arts.
The Olds Community Learning Campus was completed in 2010 with the opening of the Ralph Klein Centre, which houses a community fitness center, the new Olds High School, the Central Alberta Child and Family Services office, the Olds Alberta Works Centre and the Olds Campus Community Health Centre. Olds College gained four new educational facilities as part of the Community Learning Campus, and its Broncos now host most of their games there as well. Since completion of the Community Learning Campus, Olds has seen greater high school completion rates, better diploma exam results and expanded course offerings. Olds High School was also chosen as one of two high schools world-wide to be included in an Innovative Learning Environments study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Developing a Culture of Use
With Internet access now available throughout the town, Olds has focused its efforts on training residents and businesses to make the most of this new resource. Beginning in 2011, the Olds Connected Community Committee developed a series of training programs, including more than 20 educational videos of people using and explaining technology in the community. The committee has also created a cyber seniors program to bring in local youth to teach seniors how to use new technologies.
Members of the cyber seniors program have gone on to help the committee develop the Digital Network Area Centre at the Olds Municipal Library. The DNA Centre is a technology demonstration center available to the whole community, where residents can go to use new devices such as a 3D printer as well as various programs and applications for work and recreation. Positive response to the DNA Centre has led the library and local schools to add more STEM programming, including tweet ups, video gaming events and social media and new media competitions.
Soaring Public Engagement
The success of local programs has fostered a strong culture of public engagement in Olds. The Olds Institute for Community & Regional Development has brought together members from the government of Olds, Olds College, Olds Regional Exhibition, the Mountain View County government, the Olds and District Chambers of Commerce and local schools to discuss new community initiatives and needs, to pool their resources for fundraising and project management and to encourage residents to volunteer their time and take up leadership positions in projects that matter most to them. This collaboration has yielded impressive results, including the creation of O-Net and the relationships needed to build the Community Learning Campus. With so much accomplished in the past twenty years and community engagement reaching new heights, Olds races toward a bright tomorrow and an even brighter future.