Councillor Josh Matlow

Newstalk 1010: City staff to report on offering free Wi-Fi in city parks, TCHC

September 18th, 2015

Siobhan Morris

Newstalk 1010

You could soon be able to browse this website from a bench in Mel Lastman Square or scroll through Instagram during a picnic in High Park–all while hooked up to free city Wi-Fi.

Toronto’s Economic Development committee has voted unanimously to have city staff re-visit the idea of offering free Wi-Fi at city parks, civic squares and for interested Business Improvement Areas. Staff will also examine free Wi-Fi for the more 164,000 tenants of Toronto Community Housing.

Toronto currently offers free Wi-Fi at city libraries and is in the process of rolling it out at all TTC stations in 2017.

Councillor Josh Matlow is convinced that a more widespread free Wi-Fi program is possible by forging public-private partnerships.

“We have many residents within our Toronto Community Housing buildings who don’t have access,” Matlow told the committee. “That means that a lot of their kids are coming home and not being able to do homework like other kids are able to do. Their parents (aren’t) able to put job resumes forward.”

Matlow says the program would also allow non-TCHC tenants living at or near the poverty line to tap into free Wi-Fi in public spaces.

The councillor sees more readily-available Wi-Fi as a way to help tourists find their way around the city and to spend more money. He argues it would also help build a reputation for Toronto as a “tech-friendly city”.

A few members of the public raised concerns Friday about potential health effects from increased exposure to Wi-Fi.

“We’re not going to avoid any of these things, because we are impacted by it as well,” said councillor Michael Thompson. “None of us want to get cancer or any other ill effects that will come from utilization of technology.”

The city staff report is due back in the spring.

This article can be found in its original form at


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