Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood to get free Wi-Fi for a year

Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood could soon become a haven for Pokemon Go players, though not for the reasons you might think.

No, some mischievous individual hasn’t tried to trick players in to believing there’s an extremely rare Pokemon in Sorauren Park; instead, the vibrant west end neighbourhood is about to become one of the few places in the city where free Wi-Fi is easily accessible. It’s all thanks to a relatively new initiative launched by ReBOOT Canada, a Toronto-based charity that recycles aging electronics in an effort to facilitate access to technology for low income groups and individuals.

In partnership with Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services, ReBOOT Canada plans to trial the program for one year. At present, the plan is to cover Queen Street between Dufferin Street and Sorauren Avenue with multiple Wi-Fi hotspots. According to Metro Toronto, there’s already a hotspot at the local recreation centre, with more to come.

While emblematic of the type of gentrification happening throughout the city, Parkdale is the perfect place to trial an initiative like this. The neighbourhood is home to a significant number of low-income families, many of whom depend on the local Toronto Public Library branch to access the internet.

“The hot spots are intended to provide Internet access to individuals for whom data plans and cable at home are not affordable and to create awareness of the organizations we have partnered with to provide the service,” said Francisco Rota, ReBOOT’s executive director, in an interview with The Huffington Post Canada. “Our goal this year is to be able to show the positive impact that free Wi-Fi has on a community – it will be measured in terms of gigabytes transferred, increased traffic to partner sites, interviews in the community and sustainability of the network.”

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Margonaut.

[source]ReBOOT[/source][via]Metro Toronto, Huffington Post Canada[/via]