New hotspot: Dawes Crossing (park!)

It’s our first new hotspot in a while, and we’re thrilled that it’s in a brand new park: Dawes Crossing, at the corner of Dawes Road and Victoria Park (just south of St. Clair Ave). The park was designed by artist Noel Harding, and we worked with Walter Willems and Barry Veerkamp to get the wifi installed.

Not only is the equipment powered by solar panels and a wind turbine, there are publicly-accessible AC and USB outlets. (The only park in Toronto — or Canada? — to feature these?) Plus cool LED lighting, seating and shelter; this is likely the most comfortable outdoor wifi spot in the city.

Dawes Road Crossing sculpture open – for business, and interpretation []

St. Lawrence Market and Dufferin Grove Park are offline

Wifi at St. Lawrence Market has been offline for a while now: our wireless backhaul has become too unreliable, and we need to address the issue of interference on the main floor. (When the network was installed six years ago, ours was the only wifi signal in the space — now we’re competing with *dozens* of private networks.) The folks at the Market are working on a new backhaul solution, which we’re hoping will be in place in a few weeks.

The wifi at Dufferin Grove Park went offline at midnight last night, because Rogers has discontinued their Portable Internet service, which was the backhaul for the service at the park. It’s a disappointing move by Rogers — the Portable Internet service filled an important gap between wired/DSL and cellular-network-based service. It wasn’t cheap or fast, but it was unmetered, which perhaps contributed to Rogers’ decision to discontinue it. It’s particularly disappointing for users in many rural areas, where it was the only viable high-speed option. In Toronto we have more options: we’ll be switching to an cellular/AWS service, but it’ll be a few weeks ’til it’s back online.

New hotspot: St Louis Bar & Grill on Yonge Street

The St. Louis Bar & Grill chain has expanded a lot over the past few years, and Wireless Toronto has set up free wifi at the ones at Atrium on Bay and at Fairview Mall. This week they opened at 528 Yonge Street (at Breadalbane, one block south of Wellesley), and that location’s now also a Wireless Toronto hotspot. Link:

New hotspot: Wychwood Open Door

Wychwood Open Door is a day-time drop-in centre that has served homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto’s midtown St. Clair West community since 1986. We’re really happy to be working with them to make wifi available in their space, including to two donated desktop computers which are now available for use. More info:

WT at Dufferin Grove Park for Jane’s Walk, May 1st

This Saturday, May 1st, WT will have a table at Dufferin Grove Park for Jane’s Walk. We’ll be chatting with folks about what we do, the service in the park, etc. One of the routers in the park is down, so this seems like the perfect time to fix that, too. There are official walks from 11-1 and 4-6, but if it’s a nice day there’ll probably be people around all day.

DGP is one of my favourite places in the city to spend the day; plan to come by and hang out!

More info:

In-Site Toronto

in-site torontoToday marks the launch of In-Site Toronto, a series of newly-commissioned artworks which will be presented on the portal pages at several Wireless Toronto hotspots. Artists Dave Dyment, Swintak, Jeremy Bailey, Fedora Romita, Willy Le Maitre and Brian Joseph Davis have created works that are automatically displayed when users log in to their Wireless Toronto user account at designated hotspots. The project is by media arts organization Year Zero One, is curated by Michelle Kasprzak, and was produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

The launch of the project will take place on March 31, 2010, at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave, Toronto), in association with Spacing’s spring 2010 issue release party. Wednesday, March 31, 8pm-12am. Admission is $10 (gets you a new mag), or $5 for Spacing subscribers.

Hope to see you there!

For more info, see


New hotspot: St. Louis Bar & Grill at Fairview Mall

stl-map The St. Louis Bar & Grill at Atrium on Bay has been a Wireless Toronto hotspot since it opened, just over two years ago. A new location has just opened this week, at Fairview Mall, and it’s now a WT hotspot too. Nice people, lots of TVs, and it looks like they’ll have a great patio in the spring.

Tip: you can’t actually get to it directly through the mall, you have to go outside. It’s on the southwest side, near Sears.

Now Magazine: Hotspot we’re not?

There’s a piece in today’s NOW Magazine about wifi in Toronto:
“Hotspot we’re not”

Joshua Errett mentions Wireless Toronto, the 21,000 users we serve, and quotes me pointing towards new models for free wifi.

I don’t know why this happened, but the article takes an awfully negative approach — making it seem like LinuxCaffe and Dark Horse are two of the few places in the city that offer free wifi. I posted a comment to the story, mentioning a few of my favourite places for free wifi…