The mayor of Pickering got an interesting shout out from Drake on Wednesday.
The rapper posted to his Instagram story, asking Mayor David Ryan to set up better Wi-Fi towers so he could receive some new music from Pickering-based producer Boi-1da.
The city’s response? A clever take on Drake’s most popular song titles and lyrics.
Mark Guinto is the Manager of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications for the City of Pickering.
He was behind the city’s reply.
On his Instagram story Drake wrote, “Can the mayor of Pickering set up some stronger wifi towers so @boi1da can be able to send me all his newest beats?? Trying to cook up. Thanks. -Drake”
Guinto responded with almost two dozen references to Drake’s music in an Instagram post addressing the artists concern over Internet service in the city.
“I wanted to have a little bit of fun while communicating some of the work happening in Pickering with respect to Wi-Fi and broadband. It’s an important subject matter and it’s something that we take seriously” he said.
But Guinto also acknowledged that there are issues.
“Boi-1da is a Grammy Award winner but he lives in Pickering and has a home studio here. He was having difficulty with his internet and we recognize that it’s a problem in Pickering and Durham Region,” Guinto added.
However these problems are not anything new, according to Boi-1da.
In response to a post on Instagram, the producer commented that the lack of good internet services in Pickering has been a problem for more than a decade and that the results have not been sufficient given the taxes residents pay.
Despite the complaints, the city says they’ve been working on its internet infrastructure for years.
In 2017 Pickering applied for federal funding for the Connect to Innovate program to get broadband internet access into the city’s rural areas.
It wasn’t approved.
Since then, Guinto says the city has been working with telecommunication companies, major stakeholders like Hydro One and even developed a policy to eventually install internet infrastructure every time they open a new road.
“In reality broadband internet access is necessary. It’s no longer a luxury. It’s not anything frivolous. It’s something that we need for our residents, businesses and for students who need it for their education, especially considering that the province wants to introduce e-learning,” he said.
Although Drake has not replied to City of Pickering’s Instagram post, Guinto says work is being done behind the scenes to find a solution with Drake’s producer.
City officials say as a result of all the attention, an unknown Internet Service Provider has reached out to the mayor’s office to help remedy the problem.
Mayor Ryan is expected to meet face-to-face next week with Boi-1da to discuss improving the internet service in Pickering, says Guinto.