Future shock: Inside Google's smart city

A structure in the Port Lands, where Alphabet, the owner of Google, is expected to develop an area of Toronto's waterfront after it announced the project "Sidewalk Toronto", which will use new technologies to develop high-tech urban areas in the city
A structure in the Port Lands, where Alphabet, the owner of Google, is expected to develop an area of Toronto's waterfront after it announced the project "Sidewalk Toronto", which will use new technologies to develop high-tech urban areas in the city. Despite anxieties about privacy and covert surveillance, a February poll showed 55 per cent of Torontonians still support the project.PHOTO: REUTERS

Plans to build a tech-fired utopia in Toronto are gaining momentum - even as privacy fears grow

The former fish processing plant is so unremarkable that, at first, my taxi driver speeds right past it. He shrugs as we come to a stop in an empty carpark across the street. Along a dreary 5ha stretch of forgotten waterfront land on the outskirts of Toronto sits a boxy blue building, almost invisible among the factories and highway.

The land is neglected now, but that will change if Google has its way. This is the site where the technology company wants to build a city of the future.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 14, 2019, with the headline 'Future shock: Inside Google's smart city'. Print Edition | Subscribe