Big thanks to everyone who participated in our Hackathon! Check out this year's recap and the one from our inaugural Hackathon in 2015.

Developers, data scientists, mappers and idea people are invited to learn about the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Participants are challenged to develop ideas that support the strategy and poverty-related issues. Coding and data analysis experience welcome, but not necessary.

The weekend culminates with presentations. Door prizes will be raffled for participants.

When: Sat. Sept. 17 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sun. Sept. 18 (1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

Where: Toronto Reference Library

How to participate

Become a participant at the Hackathon

In-person participation

Registration for the in-person event on Saturday, Sept. 17 is now full. New registrants will be put on a waitlist.

Join the waitlist for in-person participants

Remote participation

Registration for remote participation on Saturday, Sept. 17 is still open. More information about how to participate remotely will be sent to you via email after you've registered.

Participants who work remotely on Saturday, Sept. 17 are invited to present their work in person or remotely on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Register for remote participation

Join us for the team presentations

The participants from the Open Data Hackathon will present their project ideas on Sunday, Sept. 18 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Toronto Reference Library (Hinton Learning Theatre). No registration is required, and all are welcome!

Project Challenges

2016 Hackathon Challenges

We invite you to begin exploring the ten project challenges. Each challenge is tied to one of the six issue areas of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Some of the data is not available yet, but we'll provide updates as we have them. If you'd like to begin work on a project in advance, join us at a Civic Tech Toronto hack night on any Tuesday leading up to the event. The event is not a competition - all projects will be presented for discussion and feedback.


Poverty in Toronto is a complex problem and a shared responsibility issue - which is why this hackathon will expand civic literacy about poverty and engage citizens in learning and working together. As Mayor John Tory says in the TO Prosperity policy document (PDF): "We will not end poverty or bridge the divides in our city without hard work and meaningful collaboration."

The challenges for the hackathon are real problems facing three organizations doing work to support poverty reduction: Toronto Public Library; the City of Toronto Social Development, Finance and Administration Division; and Social Planning Toronto.

Data Sets

Participants will be provided with a series of data sets, including City of Toronto and library data sets.

Event Mentors

Photo of Andi Argast

Andi Argast

Andi Argast is a strategist, writer, and facilitator working at the intersection of digital technology and the social good sector. Her research and work explores online advocacy, community engagement, and digital literacy, with a focus on how Canadian nonprofit organizations use technology for social change.

Andi is a project manager at the Toronto Open Data Institute, a node of the UK-based Open Data Institute, and also recently managed a national digital literacy initiative for Canadian non-profit organizations.

Photo of Greg Bloom

Greg Bloom

Greg Bloom is a Civic Imagination Fellow with Civic Hall Labs. He is the founder of Open Referral, which is promoting open access to resource directory data (i.e. information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need). Before Open Referral, Greg managed communications for Bread for the City, the District of Columbia's pre-eminent anti-poverty service provider. He is a certified cooperative developer and a dedicated community organizer, with more than a decade of experience in GOTV, class-action labor lawsuits, municipal budget battles, death penalty abolition campaigns, community wireless networks, and even a backyard chicken legalization movement. His writing has been published in In These Times, Civic Quarterly, Personal Democracy Forum, and Code for America's Beyond Transparency.

Syvia Cheung

Syvia is on the Policy, Planning and Performance Management team at the library, with a focus on program evaluation and supporting Children & Youth Services initiatives and programs. Syvia believes in the power of data and is very interested in using data to tell meaningful stories.

Photo of Patrick Connolly

Patrick Connolly

Patrick is interested in liquid democracy, decentralization, the changing nature of work, and quasi-antagonistic approaches to systems change. Patrick is the project lead for Councilmatic Toronto, which aims to make the affairs of city hall more accessible to regular citizens.

Photo of Yale Fox

Yale Fox

Yale Fox's Rentlogic works with the City of New York to analyze millions of building inspection records and rank each building based on quality. Their listings include additional information that most renters wouldn't know about until it's too late-like mold, heat and hot water problems, rodents, cockroaches, broken elevators, unexpected rent increases, or if the landlord has a tendency to keep the security deposit-all so that renters can be fully informed before signing a lease. He's also the director of LandlordWatch, a website that combines citizen-journalism, housing activism and problem solving with social technologies. LandlordWatch uses open government data provided by the City of Toronto respecting building inspections in order to create transparency in the rental housing market.

Photo of Carmen Ho

Carmen Ho

Carmen is part of the Policy, Planning and Performance Management team at the library. In her role as a Planning Specialist, she engages in long and short-term planning for the organization and develops standards, performance measures and evaluates methodologies and outputs on library projects and services.

Her recent projects include supporting the Open Data initiative, updatinig the library's Service Delivery Model and being part of the library's 2016-2019 Strategic Planning Team.

Photo of Lina Kim

Lina Kim

Lina is responsible for supporting branch-level innovation initiatives including the Digital Innovation Hubs and the mobile emerging technology kit, Pop-Up Learning Labs. Lina works closely with staff to bring new and emerging programs and partnership opportunities to various communiteis in Toronto

Photo of Giles Orr

Giles Orr

Giles is a librarian, computer geek, photographer and ex-engineer from Toronto. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering (Toronto), and another in Library Science (McGill). He spends his spare time writing Python, HTML, Bash scripts, whatever language he's learning right now, working with Linux, travelling and watching movies.

Photo of Heath Priston

Heath Priston

Heath Priston holds degrees in Urban Geography and Urban Planning from the University of Waterloo, where his research studied social polarization in Canadian cities. Heath works as an analyst in the Social Policy, Analysis and Research section at the City of Toronto. He was the policy lead for development of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, and he also supported development of the Toronto Seniors Strategy and the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020. His current role is to provide research and evaluation expertise to community development and human services initiatives across the City.

Photo of Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is an I.T. Consultant in the SAP Analytics ecosystem. He is actively involved as a citizen around the Open Data and Parks and Recreation processes at Toronto City Hall.

Photo of Safiah Chowdhury

Safiah Chowdhury

Safiah Chowdhury is a Policy Development Officer at the City of Toronto's Employment and Social Services division where she works on social policy and program design including the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Prior to her work at the City, she was a Studio Y Fellow at the MaRS Discovery District where worked on community-based social interventions.

Photo of Reema Tarzi

Reema Tarzi

Reema is a digital project manager with a background in web development. She aims to make systems work better through people, process, design and technology. She is interested in how to measure value.

Photo of Bianca Wylie

Bianca Wylie

Bianca Wylie is head of the Open Data Institute Toronto, co-founder of Civic Tech Toronto and an Associate Expert at Open North. She has an extensive professional background in both community engagement and the technology sector. The Open Data Institute Toronto supports the use of open data in public policy, civic tech, and political engagement.

Photo of Ab. Velasco

Ab. Velasco

In his current role as Project Leader on the library's Innovation Team, Ab. supports the development of programs, partnerships, and other initiatives for the library's digital innovation spaces. Initiative have included the Innovator in Residence, the Maker Festival and the library's inaugural hackathon in Fall 2015.

Check back regularly for more mentors.

Contact Us

If you are considering starting a project and have any questions, please email the organizing team at We are also accepting remote project work, so get in touch if you'd like to do that.

Missed Last Year's Hackathon?

The library hosted our first hackathon in November 2015. Over two days, 50+ participants and mentors worked together to create concepts to improve library service. Check out the recap and videos from our inaugural event.

Special Thanks

The library is excited and thankful to be working with an amazing group of partners on this year's hackathon:

Event food sponsors