Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs is shuttering its Toronto office and has laid off the majority of its local staff after cancelling its smart-city project there.

Sidewalk said Thursday that 20 people had been laid off from the Toronto office, while some employees had left voluntarily. This was the majority of its local employees; a LinkedIn analysis showed that 24 people are employed by Sidewalk in the city, although a few have left quietly over the past month. The company has nearly 150 employees total, largely working at its New York headquarters.

“As excited as we are for the future, we are sad that this shift in focus means we will say goodbye to some of our incredibly talented team members,” Sidewalk Labs spokesman Dan Levitan said. He also said Sidewalk’s large office and event space next to the Toronto waterfront would close.

Story continues below advertisement

The New York-based urban planning company partnered with public development agency Waterfront Toronto in 2017 to build a 12-acre community called Quayside filled with new technologies and designed to make urban living easier and more sustainable. The Alphabet Inc. subsidiary proposed a range of technologies, including traffic signals that adapted to pedestrian patterns, artificial-intelligence-powered heating and cooling for buildings and robots that moved freight and garbage underground.

After 2½ years of promotion and controversy, including over the potential of surveillance and data collection on the site, Sidewalk cancelled the project on May 7, citing economic uncertainty from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Quayside was Sidewalk’s only significant city-building project, although it was not the company’s first choice to build a community, as it described, “from the internet up.” A confidential 2016 document obtained by The Globe and Mail last year revealed the company had detailed plans to propose for the Denver, Detroit and San Francisco Bay areas. That document also revealed that Sidewalk originally wanted to collect enough data about peoples’ lives that it could predict their future movements.

The Globe reported in May that the death of Quayside was part of a pattern of internal and external clashes and disappointments that stretches back nearly to Sidewalk’s inception. The company struggled to define its goals from the start, and the 2016 document became a source of internal strife as city-building experts clashed with Google-style technologists.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies