Grey County Named to Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2017

“We are incredibly honoured to be named one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities,”

Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2017

On February 9, 2017, Grey County was named one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The announcement was made at the conclusion of “The Internet of Cities Forum” in Taipei, Taiwan.

“We are incredibly honoured to be named one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities,” said Alan Barfoot, Warden of Grey County. “This is an outstanding acknowledgement for our region. We face many unique challenges in our rural area and being named to the Top7 recognizes our community’s ability to face challenges head on and persevere.”

Grey County was named to the Smart21 Communities in 2016 and was invited to apply to the prestigious Top7 designation.

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Our lives are powered by the Internet. We rely on getting and staying connected for everything from growing our businesses to watching the latest TV shows, from completing post-secondary degrees to communicating with health specialists across the globe. Connectivity is so essential that the United Nations has declared Internet access to be a human right. But fibre-optic networks will just be "glass in the ground" if we don't work as a community to make sure we have the knowledge and skills required to take advantage of the opportunities created by connectivity. That's why we're working to make Grey County a “Connected County."

Explore this site to learn more what makes an intelligent community, read about key projects happening throughout our region, and stay up to date on the latest news and events through the blog. If you want to work with us to create connections and promote sustainable prosperity in Grey County, get in touch. We want to hear from you.

What's an Intelligent Community?

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What Makes an Intelligent Community?

Smart Facts about Grey County

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What we've accomplished so far


2016 -2016

Grey County Named to Smart21 Communities of 2017

Grey County has been named one of the Smart21 Communities of 2017(link is external) by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The Smart21 recognizes communities that embrace technology to improve prosperity and inclusiveness. The announcement of the Smart21 was made on October 19 at the Think Canada conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Read the full announcement on www.grey.ca/smart


Ag 4.0: The Next Big Thing

Grey County is home to exceptional innovation in agriculture, food, and rural entrepreneurship. We work with leaders at home and abroad to make sure we're delivering the tools that our communities and businesses need to succeed. That's why we're shining a spotlight on creative technological innovation in agriculture.

The official conversation kicks off November 2-3, 2016 with the Ag 4.0 Summit + Innovation Tour. The Summit will take place on November 2, 2016 at Meaford Hall and the Innovation Tour will visit locations across Northern Grey County on November 3, 2016.

Together, we're building great things in Grey County and promoting sustainable, innovative, prosperous communities and leading the rural renaissance.


Grey County launches redeveloped website

During the summer of 2016, Grey County redeveloped and re-launched a newly refreshed web presence at www.grey.ca. The website was rebuilt in-house using Drupal, an open-source platform, and features easier to navigate pages, more interactive content, and more opportunities for citizens to feel better connected to their county government.


SWIFT receives $180 million in federal and provincial funding through Small Communities Fund

On July 26, 2016 at the London Roundhouse in London, Ontario, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced they are investing in the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project with contributions of $90 million each towards the total project cost of approximately $281 million. This investment will support the expansion of access to broadband by delivering fibre optic coverage to over 350 communities with a total population of 3.5 million across Western Ontario, as well as Caledon and Niagara. 

Grey County has played a signficant leadership role in developing the SWIFT Initiative, with Director of IT Geoff Hogan serving as the SWIFT Technical Lead through a partial secondment and Ashleigh Weeden, Project Lead - Connected County Initiative, providing communications support through a partial secondment. Grey County was key to the early stage development, with former CAO Lance Thurston and former Warden Duncan McKinley leading the SWIFT Committee during its formative months. This project has been developing since 2011, with the funding announcement representing a sigificant achievement by Grey County and the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus driven by five years of advocacy and leadership in building #broadbandforeveryone.


Warden's Breakfast - Announcing Key Initiatives for 2016

On February 18, 2016, Grey County hosted the Second Annual Warden's Breakfast, which gives local business and community leaders the opportunity to network with elected officials and County staff as well as learn more about progress towards economic development goals. In 2016, the Connected County project was front and centre as a central focus of promoting community and economic developmnet for Grey County.

Click here to view the Economic Development Update presented at the 2016 Warden's Breakfast.


Applied to the ICF Intelligent Community Of the Year Awards Program

Working with an extensive list of community partners, local experts and industry champions, we gathered data and stories about Grey County's current progress toward becoming an intelligent community and submitted an application to the Intelligent Community Forum's Intelligent Community of the Year Awards Program.

Our co-signatories to our 2015/2016 application included Warden Kevin Eccles, Gemma Mendez Smith, Executive Director of the Four County Labour Market Planning Board and Bill Van Wyck, President of The W.R. Van Wyck Group Limited.

The Smart 21 short list will be announced on October 21, 2015.


Grey County joins Open Data Movement with OpenData.Grey.ca

On May 5, 2015, Grey County joined the global Open Data movement by launching its own Open Data Portal at OpenData.Grey.ca

Through the online portal, Grey County will publish datasets in an accessible format so that information is machine readable and easily analyzed, while maintaining protections for personal privacy, security and confidentiality (as specified under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990).

“The County has created a vast amount of useful facts and statistics and we’re excited to start making this data more easily accessible and useable for interested members of our community,” said Director of IT, Geoff Hogan.


Connected County Master Class with Robert Bell

On November 7, 2014, Grey County hosted a Master Class with Intelligent Community Forum co-founder Robert Bell. Over 80 local leaders and community stakeholders participated in a very interactive session, producing a broad range of ideas for moving Grey County forward towards becoming an intelligent community.

Recommendations on immediate and future next steps regarding these strategic areas have been collected from community input provided at the Master Class, as well as actions listed in the implementation plan for the Made in Grey Economic Development Strategy. These action items have been matched with high-level metrics suggested by the ICF for communities to self-evaluate their efforts to become more connected and intelligent and outlined in the Connected County work-plan, which will be tabled to County Council in October 2015.


Completed Cisco's Smart + Connected Communities Benchmarking

In April 2013, Cisco was hired to perform a Smart and Connected Communities (S+CC) diagnostic exercise and develop a high level service strategy for Grey County.  Cisco completed a series of in-person interviews and surveys with stakeholders across Grey County. Completing the S+CC process established Grey County as the first community to be analyzed as part of the South West Economic Alliance (SWEA) Intelligent Region project, which worked with communities across Southwestern Ontario to complete the benchmarking study piloted here in Grey County.


Completed the I-Canada iCat Assessment

As a starting point, the County took part in an initial qualitative assessment of our readiness to compete globally, using an assessment tool created by i-Canada called, the i-CAT; short for Intelligent Community Assessment Tool. This was a pilot project, paid for by SWEA, to explore the merits and local applicability of the Intelligent Community development framework.

Some 50 people from different sectors across Grey County were invited to complete the survey in May 2012, representing government, business, community services, health care, education and the general public. Results were considered typical for a rural area. I-Canada did suggest however, that Grey County is in a better starting position than most other similar municipalities analysed in Ontario to date. Participants ranked Grey highly for the environment, quality of life, finances and smart utilities. More information can be found in former CAO Lance Thurston's report "Towards Creating an Intelligent Region."


Local Leaders Connecting Grey County

Local Champions

Get In Touch


Contact Info

  • Ashleigh Weeden, Connected County Initiative
  • 519-372-0219 ext 1255
  • ashleigh.weeden@grey.ca