Soofa solar-powered benches


Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7

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Pedestrians sitting on s Soofa bench

Soofa LogoNewmarket is proud to lead the way in innovative technologies by being the first community in Canada to introduce a network of Soofa solar-powered smart benches. These benches are not only environmentally-friendly, they also gather valuable information that will help the Town use data-driven technology to improve quality of life in the community. This program enables Newmarket to join the Soofa Beta Cities network, in the company of a number of major cities in the US including New York, Boston, Austin and Los Angeles. This is a big step forward towards Newmarket being recognized as a Smart City.

Soofa Bench Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Soofa Bench?
The Soofa Bench is an innovative bench that charges mobile devices using solar power, while creating a social space for neighbours to gather. The Town unveiled its first Soofa bench in Riverwalk Commons in 2016. Soofa is a leading innovative design firm, previously featured as one of the up and coming technologies at Barak Obama's Maker Faire White House Maker Faire in 2014.

Bring your own charging cord and charge your mobile device on a Soofa bench/core. 
What is Soofa technology?
Soofa technology is our data analytics collector that provides the Town with relevant information to better serve our residents’ needs. The Soofa technology, located inside the Soofa Bench or Soofa Core are located in Riverwalk Commons and the Downtown area.
How does the Soofa Technology Work?
The Soofa Pro Benches have sensors that passively listen for wi-fi enabled devices (like smart phones and tablets), allowing us to gather information such as the number of visitors in that area, during a specific time and day without infringing on your privacy.
What about my privacy?
No personal information is collected. Any data gathered is encrypted and remains completely anonymous. If you do not want your phone to be accessed through Soofa, simply turn off your Wi-Fi. For more information, check out the Soofa Privacy Policy or view our policy on the Internet of Things.
What does the Town do with the information collected?
The information collected will help the Town make better informed decisions by understanding how our public spaces along Main Street and Riverwalk Commons are being used.

For example, pedestrian data collected can help us understand the how many people are visiting certain areas, how long they are staying, how often they return, and how people are moving around throughout the downtown area.

Data collected will assist projects and initiatives such as waste collection, economic development, capital investments, general maintenance, parking concerns, event logistics and more! 
Where are the Soofa Benches located?
Ten Soofa units are located throughout downtown Newmarket, Riverwalk Commons and the Main Street 
How long does it take to charge a mobile device?
It takes approximately the same time to charge your mobile device through a normal outlet. Don't forget to bring your own charging cord.
How many mobile devices can be charged at once?
Two mobile devices can be charged at once on the Soofa Bench or Soofa Core.
Can you charge your mobile devices on a cloudy or rainy date, or even at night?
Yes, Soofa stores the energy it collected during the daylight hours and makes it available at any time.
How many hours of charging can the Soofa provide?
On average, per day, the Soofa Bench/Core can provide up to 10 hours of charging for each port. 
Will the Soofa Bench/Core work during the winter?
Yes, it is extremely weather resistant. However, it will collect less sunlight so it will provide less energy. But from in person observations and analysis of usage data, people tend to charge for shorter periods when it is cold.

Fun facts collected through the Soofa Bench

  • Main Street and Botsford Street had over 1.6 million (1,601,717) people walk that intersection in 2018.
  • Riverwalk Commons had over 1.4 million visitors (1,481,259) in 2018.
  • Wondering what the busiest month, day or hour is on Main Street last year?
    • Busiest month: July (165,155)
    • Busiest Day: Saturdays (over 3000 visitors on average at Main/Botsford)
    • Busiest Hour: Fridays at 8 p.m. at Main/Botsford (697 visitors on average)
  • On June 16, 2018 Newmarket hosted the Pride Parade, Craft Beer Festival, Artisans Festival and the Farmers Market.
    As a result, Riverwalk Commons had over 25,000 people in just one day.
  • During the 2018 Santa Claus Parade, there were 3,500 people counted at Main Street and Water Street in just 
    one hour.
  • The temperature that attracts the most people to Riverwalk Commons, was 31 degrees (445 people on average).
  • Shania Twain beat out the Beatles and Bon Jovi, for the most visitors at our free outdoor tribute bands at Riverwalk Commons.
  • Riverwalk Commons was visited 647,975 times during the summer of 2018.