Dan Doctoroff and Stephen Diamond could hardly suppress their affection for each other at their January 13 joint luncheon address hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
No wonder: the two are firmly united in gunning for Sidewalk Labs -- a sister company of the Google/Alphabet behemoth -- to rapidly spin its all-encompassing, government-usurping, high-tech web first on the 12-acre Quayside site on Toronto’s eastern waterfront and then across the rest of the city, all of Canada and the rest of the planet.
I’ve previously written about how Sidewalk Labs is poised to gain control of a vastly larger area than Quayside alone, thanks largely to eager enabling by our municipal, provincial and federal governments and by Waterfront Toronto, which is a creation of these three levels of government.
The company hasn’t been secretive about its goal to use Quayside as a launching pad for much bigger ambitions. But now it appears they’re confident enough – due to the successful co-opting of our governments and business communities, together with much of the mainstream media and the public – to broadcast more of the scope of their plans.
The sold-out Jan. 13 event was billed as an opportunity for Doctoroff and Diamond – Sidewalk Labs CEO and Waterfront Toronto board chair, respectively – to “share experiences on the successful negotiations between the two organizations” and to “share insights on how this new partnership will impact the development of Toronto’s waterfront, and the opportunity it brings to the broader region.”
The pair delivered. They displayed similar unbridled enthusiasm and obfuscation to that shown by Waterfront Toronto officials at a Nov. 19 public consultation a few days after the organization’s board voted to continue negotiating toward full implementation of Sidewalk’s plans at Quayside.
“My hope is that Sidewalk is so successful on these 12 acres that when we’re ready to go with a proposal call that everyone will be saying, ‘Hey this is amazing,’ [and so t]here’ll be the opportunity for them to do other work on the waterfront and the city and elsewhere in the world,” Diamond said on Jan. 13. “That’s the ultimate success that we’ll have achieved. We wouldn’t be in it if we didn’t think that we could get there.”
Diamond also stated that “[o]ne of the parts of this whole project is that I think with what’s going on with technological innovation, is if we’re successful – [and] we’re not sure yet we will be, and there’s a lot that can happen between now and a year from now – but this whole project, I’m hoping that we’ll be using Sidewalk to make Toronto and the city and the country as a catalyst to be leaders in the area of the innovation economy. That’s what the hopeful result will be.”
He added that “we’re working [towards that] every day; [and] all levels of government are working on it.”