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March 19, 2002
West Toronto Junction set to become a centre for new media business
Economic Development -- The West Toronto Junction neighbourhood is hosting an
event to showcase how digital economy businesses, bandwidth providers and local
building owners can transform a historic commercial district into a "Smart Main
Street" using the community broadband network approach.

The idea first gelled in 1999 when a small group of local residents and
business people dared to dream of a future where its historic commercial
buildings in the Junction could be home to new media businesses and specialized
retailers serving a worldwide clientele.

By 2001, the Smart Main Street Advisory Group of the Junction Business and
Community Development Corporation had attracted funding to explore this concept
in earnest. Funds came from the City of Toronto's Economic Development
Division, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (Bell Canada Fund) and
Human Resources Development Canada. The group's mission was to find a practical
and cost-effective method for main streets in urban areas to offer broadband
infrastructure to businesses that want to locate outside the downtown core.

The City of Toronto Economic Development Division supports this project as part
of its continued efforts to increase the desirability of our neighbourhoods,
making Toronto a better place to work, live and play.

Broadband service providers have built the national, continental and
intercontinental networks and are meeting the needs of large businesses in
downtown cores. These large companies enjoy bandwidth that handles millions of
bits of data a second, allowing them to receive and send voice data, graphics
and multimedia communications simultaneously. Broadband service providers,
however, have not yet solved the problem of how to deliver broadband capability
cheaply and efficiently to the millions of small businesses clustered around
urban commercial districts and in medium-sized cities.

In a move reminiscent of the spread of telephone services at the beginning of
the twentieth century, local groups and individuals are taking the initiative
to set up their own broadband networks in small towns and rural areas. The
Smart Main Street Advisory Group is attempting a community broadband network in
a big city.

The Smart Main Street Advisory Group sponsored three studies:
- a study of the Wider Market Area and an analysis of the types of businesses
that fit the Junction's amenities
- a study assessing the feasibility of retrofitting existing buildings with
telecommunications infrastructure
- a study of the options for bringing broadband connectivity to the Junction.

Members of the public are invited to find out more about the future of
community broadband.

Stephen Chait, president of the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO),
will give the keynote address. Also featured is the Junction's new media
presentation with highlights from a study of the options for bringing broadband
connectivity to the Junction, presented in a lively, interactive format.

Entertainment includes performances by Dave the Cat and "The History of the
Tango," choreographed by Bryant Lopes and Natalia Coccuzza from Buenos Aires,

The Smart Main Street Launch Event will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 6:30
to 9:30 p.m. at the Studio Space Gallery, second floor, 2844 Dundas St. W.
(near the northeast corner of Dundas and Keele Streets.)

For more information, call Debra Kosemetzky or Henry Calderon at 416-767-6680,
or e-mail them at

The West Toronto Junction

The West Toronto Junction features:

- Almost one million square feet in mixed commercial residential buildings on
Dundas Street West between Annette Street and Runnymede Road on which to draw
for new media enterprises

- Heritage buildings available for commercial and residential uses - many with
original and renewed commercial facades, brick interiors and wood floors

- Lower than average commercial rental rates compared with most central
commercial districts and affordable housing

- Convenient location only 20 minutes from downtown

- The potential for live-work and owner-occupier arrangements

- Renewed underground electrical system, with new conduit to every building

- Brand new streetscape, lighting and sidewalks from Annette Street/Dundas and

- A thriving arts community including the annual Junction Arts Festival in

- A neighbourhood with human resources rich in the skills that are valued in
the new economy

- New economy businesses in film production, computer applications and new
media that have established in the neighbourhood

- Exceptional retail commercial sector including culturally diverse
restaurants and cafes - from southeast Asian, African and European, to North
American cuisine including vegetarian.

- A location midway between Pearson International Airport and the downtown core

- Easy connections to the TTC - buses and subway - and GO-Transit

- Close to recreational amenities such as High Park

- Active community involvement in two residents associations and involved
business improvement area - all working together to make the Junction a great
place to live, work and play.

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