The Centre for Digital Media is located on Great Northern Way Campus, which is jointly owned by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. GNW campus was set up in 2001, following a gift from Finning of an 18-acre site on the False Creek Flats. The Great Northern Way Campus Trust has two principal activities:
- The operation of The Centre for Digital Media, which houses the Master of Digital Media graduate degree program, jointly operated and accredited by all four partners.
- The revitalization of the land parcel to bring together businesses, academia and the general community into an emerging district for the digital and creative sectors. This district is also the future home of a relocated Emily Carr University and the location of a potential skytrain station on the future UBC line.
In 2001, Finning International, INC., the world’s largest dealer of Caterpillar tractors, donated an 18.6-acre property on the False Creek Flats to the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The land was divided equally among the 4 schools for a high-tech campus. Great Northern Way Campus Trust (GNWC) was created with UBC, SFU, BCIT and Emily Carr University of Art + Design as partners.
In 2006, in a bid to make BC a leader in the digital media industry, the Provincial Government granted $40.5 million to GNWC for the creation of The Centre for Digital Media, to house the Master of Digital Media program. Half of the money was for the building and the other half was for creating an endowment for the program.
The Centre for Digital Media was launched in 2007, and has estabilshed itself as the home to a quality master's degree as well as valuable and industry-relevent related programs. A new building in 2012 has rasied the Centre's profile in the city, and set the stage for a new phase of growth.
As of 2016, the Centre for Digital Media is home to four groups of students: two for-credit graduate programs (MDM and Pre-MDM) and two non-credit programs (one, IDEA-X, targets senior undergraduate students, and the other, TMDM, targets high-school students). The non-credit programs provide an introduction to the MDM Way – our set of design practices that build agile and effective digital production pipelines. They are also recruiting and community engagement strategies.
The CDM occupies two buildings at Great Northern Way Campus. These buildings are also home to student housing, three game companies, a data centre and a coffee shop.