On Thursday, municipal leaders and innovators from the public, private and non-profit sectors gathered in Toronto to welcome the newest member of the city’s civic innovation ecosystem: Civic Hall Toronto.

A collaboration between the City of Toronto, the Centre for Social Innovation and national nonprofit Code for Canada, Civic Hall Toronto will bring together government teams, social entrepreneurs, civic tech community members and residents, and enable to them to work together to address the issues that matter.

“Civic Hall Toronto will bring together City teams and outside innovators to collaborate on solutions to better serve our residents,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I look forward to seeing the results of this work and the introduction of new tools and approaches to improve the way we work on behalf of the people of Toronto.”

Civic Hall Toronto’s membership includes teams from the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the City of Markham.

“I'm proud to announce our collaboration with Civic Hall Toronto,” said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Our aim is to become a frictionless city for residents and businesses and to incorporate civic innovation into everything we do. We look forward to working with Code for Canada, the City of Toronto and the Centre for Social Innovation to build Markham's civic tech and innovation capacity.”

Making space for new ideas

“New ideas need new spaces, where collaboration and ‘outside the box’ thinking are encouraged,” said Civic Hall Toronto Program Manager Shea Sinnott. “Civic Hall Toronto will break down siloes, unite passionate and talented people with an interest in civic innovation, and enable the best ideas to be shared across sectors.”

Inspired by successful examples in other cities, including Civic Hall in New York and Paris’ Superpublic, Civic Hall Toronto offers a unique mix of services for members, including networking and training opportunities, events, access to the collaboration space, and custom support — including user testing, design sprints and more — to help accelerate civic innovation projects.

Accelerating civic tech startups

Around the world, entrepreneurs are finding success and sustainability delivering technologies that inform, engage and connect residents with government — and one another — to advance civic outcomes. Civic Hall Toronto’s programs will grow the commercial civic tech sector in the GTA by helping civic entrepreneurs connect and collaborate with technologists, public servants and potential users.

“Civic Hall Toronto is an opportunity for aspiring civic tech startups in Toronto to get their foot in the door, and their businesses off the ground,” said Chris Rickett, Manager of Entrepreneurship Services at the City of Toronto.

Civic Hall Toronto will be operated out of the Centre for Social Innovation in the heart of downtown Toronto. “Civic Hall Toronto is bold and will bridge the gap between the city and citizens,” said Adil Dhalla, Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation. “It is unlike anything Toronto has ever seen and will be a hub for social innovation and new thinking. We can't wait to get started.”

To learn more about Civic Hall Toronto visit civichallto.ca.