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Digital Media Comes of Age in British Columbia with Two Milestone Anniversaries

Sep 12, 2017 By Chris Sroka

The Centre for Digital Media Turns 10 as its Catalyst Partner DigiBC Turns 20 in Joint Celebration of BC’s Global Digital Achievements

When it comes to digital media, twenty years is an eternity. And when British Columbia’s digital media sector first came together as an industry group in 1997, there was no Google and no YouTube, no Xbox and no iPhone and no social media of any kind. Today, BC is a global hub for digital entertainment talent, technology and education, shaping the way interactive media is made, marketed and taught. DigiBC, as the industry association is known today, is celebrating two decades of giving back and looking ahead -- while its beneficial partner, the Centre for Digital Media, celebrates ten years of higher education, industry collaboration and urban innovation.

“Talent and financing are critical to both employment and entrepreneurship,” said DigiBC’s Board Chair Jon Lutz, Electronic Arts VP of Financial Planning & Strategy. “Our association has a 20-year history of bringing these things together. It took visionary board members in the mid-2000’s to raise significant funding from the Province for what has become the Centre for Digital Media, a thriving innovation district in the heart of Vancouver for graduate education, industry innovation and public engagement.”

“In the decade since opening the Centre for Digital Media, both digital media and Vancouver have come of age and now have a spot on the global stage,” said DigiBC Board Director Catherine Warren, who served on the board for the original fundraising and who has come full circle as the new Centre for Digital Media President. “As the Centre for Digital Media turns 10, we have built a real-world legacy for what is largely a virtual field, and revitalized part of Vancouver through sustainability, technology and creativity – all features that our city is known for now around the world.”

The Centre for Digital Media District, near Main and 2nd in Vancouver, is located on lands donated by Finning International, Inc. to support a groundbreaking joint venture between the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. This vibrant multi-acre destination is home to a pioneering master’s degree program, parks, art galleries, artist and game studios, tech workspaces for creative industries and university live-work residences – all centred on a digital media theme.

BC’s digital media sector is home to multinational giants such as Electronic Arts and Microsoft, as well as homegrown success stories, such as BroadbandTV and Hootsuite. The sector is ranked as the number one cluster in the world for visual effects and animation. Province-wide, digital and filmed entertainment generates more than 40,000 jobs – 13,000 within video games, animation and visual effects – and contributes billions in direct GDP, according to Vancouver Economic Commission.

At the intersection of creativity and technology, BC is now a significant draw for talented graduate students, innovative companies and ambitious investors – and digital media is a powerful contributor to BC’s economic well-being.  

Learn more about the Centre for Digital Media District and the CDM's 10th Anniversary