Toronto – The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, will bring temporary Wi-Fi access to select parks in northwest Toronto as part of a week-long pilot project called Wi-Fi on Wheels. This initiative was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure vulnerable Torontonians can connect online to important information, social supports and vital services.
Wi-Fi on Wheels provides free outdoor internet access and onsite use of internet-compatible devices for those without regular access. Anyone can bring their own device to connect to the public Wi-Fi network or can temporarily use a City device onsite. The Wi-Fi-enabled Bookmobile, provided by the Toronto Public Library, will be travelling to select parks between noon and 6:30 p.m. this week:
August 4, 5 and 6 – Masseygrove Park (Elmbank Community Centre grounds), 80 Kendleton Drive
August 7 and 8 – Edgeley Park (Driftwood Community Recreation Centre grounds), 4401 Jane Street
To ensure health and safety, all City devices will be sanitized between every use. Staff will verbally conduct a brief health assessment questionnaire with participants to ensure that anyone using the City devices does not have symptoms of COVID-19. Staff will also request the name and phone number of those using City devices for contact tracing purposes.
Residents using the park Wi-Fi are required to maintain a minimum distance of two metres (six feet) from others and should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer that will be provided onsite. If a resident arrives at a park that is crowded, they are advised to return at a later time when there are fewer people.
While it is not mandatory to wear masks or face coverings outdoors, it is recommended that face masks are worn if it is difficult to maintain physical distancing. Anyone who feels sick should stay at home, even if symptoms are mild.
These events contribute to the Toronto Public Library’s and City of Toronto’s digital inclusion efforts to provide equitable access to technology and internet connectivity in the city.
The Wi-Fi on Wheels pilot project was developed as part of the City’s Digital Acceleration & Optimization ‘NextGen’ Workshop series to help improve City service access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information about Wi-Fi on Wheels.
“COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone but has most difficult on our vulnerable residents. During this time, we must continue to support our most vulnerable residents to ensure they have access to the supports and information they need. This pilot project is just one of the ways we are modernizing the delivery of City’s services to help everyone stay connected.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
“It’s great to see a project that was pitched by our ‘Next Gen’ public servants be rolled out so quickly. This pilot project is a wonderful collaboration between City divisions and the Toronto Public Library which came together to launch these pop-up events in under 30 days. I’d like to thank the project team for this innovative idea and to everyone involved for ensuring that individuals without access remain connected to the supports they need.”
– City Manager Chris Murray
“The library plays an important role in providing residents with equitable access to technology and internet connectivity across its network of 100 branches. We are pleased to partner with the City on this wonderful initiative.”
– City Librarian Vickery Bowles