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posted on July 4, 2006


Set up by Gabe Sawhney of Wireless Toronto, and funded by Kijiji (see below). Gabe is part of a volunteer group who think that free wireless internet access connects people better in communities, and is the right way to go. The group in Toronto is just over a year old. Their web site is: We asked Gabe to give an example of what wireless internet is good for, and he sent this story: “One of the most active community wireless groups is in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. They coordinated the installation of a community wireless network in New Orleans within days of Hurricane Katrina. That network was powered using batteries, solar, and other off-grid sources, and provided the only communications infrastructure in some areas for weeks. The group also set up low-power FM transmitters to help inform people about what was going on.”

In the past year Wireless Toronto set up a number of free wireless internet access points in Toronto, around St.Lawrence Market and various coffee shops and one pub. But they wanted to expand to the open air. So they contacted Kijiji - a free, local, community classifieds site - to ask if they would sponsor a year’s free wireless internet at a park.

Janet Bannister from Kijiji writes: “Kijiji ( has local sites in 21 cities across Canada including one here in Toronto. Kijiji means “village” in Swahili. Like the name, Kijiji enables people to buy and sell things with others in their own city – things like furniture, electronics, computers, clothing, and baby items. Kijiji also has categories for cars, pets, services, housing, jobs and personals. The site is totally free – there’s absolutely no cost to post an ad – and it is extremely easy to use. The site is growing very quickly so take a look and you just may find a great bargain or a spot to turn your unwanted things into cash.”

So Kijiji, because of its interest in local communities, agreed to sponsor a year’s free wireless internet access in a park. Gabe contacted Dufferin Grove Park. City of Toronto officials said that although it’s a good idea, they were not ready to give Wireless Toronto permission to install wireless internet at the park. But a park neighbour offered his house as the point of entry. So wireless internet has come to Dufferin Grove Park in the same way so much else has come to the park – from the neighbourhood.

It took a month or so to iron out the bugs, but the hot spot seems to be working well all the time now. And for those people who don’t have their own laptop computer, the park will shortly be getting a refurbished desktop computer available for park users and travellers for checking e-mail, to be kept in the rink house. Watch for signs on the park bulletin boards.

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