Sadie Evans posted an articleVictoria, BC listed as one of the top Canadian tech hubs see more
Author: Ilya Brotzky
Victoria, BC, October 21, 2019: Toronto and Vancouver get the lion’s share of attention on the Canadian tech scene. And it’s no wonder! Startup founders, investment and innovation naturally cluster in the big cities. But the truth is that innovation is happening all across our country.
From Victoria to Kelowna, Halifax and a lot of places in between, tech hiring and investment are up.
We reached out to the experts at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), who helped us run the numbers on how some of the tech hubs are punching above their weight. From Montreal to Saskatoon, and our own nation’s capital, ecosystems across Canada are definitely in a growth phase.
By the numbers
Here, we can see how much these areas have been hiring tech professionals from 2014 to 2019 (for those who prefer bar graph visualizations, we’ve got that, too.)
Number employed in the tech sector for 2018 (companies under a tech industry code):
Date 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Montreal 121,496 121,976 127,218 132,941 135,791 139,220 Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 18,308 18,745 18,817 20,592 21,360 22,209 Winnipeg 11,887 11,314 10,842 11,746 13,726 14,199 Calgary 32,914 33,490 33,838 36,195 36,760 37,657 Saskatoon 3,970 4,067 4,159 4,222 4,277 4,352 Halifax 10,083 11,256 11,474 11,382 10,956 11,118 Kelowna 2,218 2,333 2,526 2,753 3,160 3,310 Victoria 7,264 7,292 7,962 8,507 8,893 9,194 Ottawa-Gatineau 44,430 47,482 48,660 50,456 52,960 54,302
And all of these jobs translate into major economic activity on the ground. Let’s look at capital expenditures overall in some of these tech hubs:
Total capex value (CAD) by city:
City 2018 2019
Kelowna 371.1 211.5 Saskatoon 56.5 321.8 Halifax 181.4 224.7
- Kelowna capital expenditure projects include Barn Owl Brewing, GTEC Holdings, KF Aerospace, etc.
- Saskatoon projects include Morris Industries, Empire Parkour, Midtown Plaza, etc.
- Halifax projects include Canada Computers, Coloursmith Labs, Murphy Hospitality Group, etc.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into some of these top Canadian tech hubs you might not know about!
Tech Hub Halifax
When the fisheries dwindled in Atlantic Canada, a lot of east coasters moved inland to Alberta to work in the oil and gas sector. That was the pipeline to jobs. Today, the coast if focused on tech-powered sustainable development. “In early 2018, the Government of Canada launched the Innovation Supercluster Initiative,” explains Alexandra Cutean, Senior Director of Research and Policy at ICTC. “Focused on creating strongholds of research, innovation, economic growth and job creation across Canada – essentially a “cluster” of this activity – this public-private undertaking is bound to make a splash in the Atlantic.”
But it’s not just government support that’s making a difference. Halifax has many advantages: generous R&D tax incentives, lower cost of living, competitive business costs and access to talent. Large companies on the local tech scene include NNT Data and Mitsubishi UFG, which is expanding in Nova Scotia. Particular growth sectors include digital media, financial services, and information communication technology.
The bounty of the sea fed Halifax’s workers in a different time, but clearly, tech is on the rise here.
Tech Hub Kelowna
Seeking a balanced lifestyle and an escape from the high cost of Vancouver, “real estate refugees” from the west coast are working with innovative folks from the Okanagan to create a growing tech hub here. Kelowna had 3,310 tech employees by 2019.
That’s an outstanding figure for a place that was known for agriculture and wineries up until about 5 minutes ago. A pleasant place for retirees to sit back on the porch is increasingly a place where millennials are moving in to take up tech jobs. Kelowna has the central hub for Okanogan Tech: Accelerate Okanogan – and their job board is the most complete in the region.
Some highlights cited by ICTC: Data Nerds, a real estate and property API provider, is expanding to the US. Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp. (AEM), a manufacturer of aircraft communication systems is being acquired by Australian company Structural Monitoring Systems after many years of partnership. Hyper Hippo Games seems hungry-hungry for growth, too.
Tech Hub Saskatoon
On a bright prairie day, the wind whips up waves and currents in fields of wheat that stretch to the horizon — but there’s a lot more to Saskatoon than grain and potash.
As ICTC notes, tax incentives and cheaper land prices are helping to boost growth in the tech sector. Saskatoon’s world-class technology park, Innovation Place, offers mentorship and affordable office space for technology companies. They’ve got over 1,500 people working in the park now and many of the companies are hiring tech talent. For instance, Tiny Eye, an image search app, recently won acceptance into a scale-up program to fast-track team growth.
Tech Hub Victoria
The capital of BC used to be known almost exclusively as a government town. That’s changing. [VIATEC runs Victoria's] technology hub called Fort Tectoria, which is a coworking space that houses startups and hosts events. [VIATEC also facilitates a series of accelerator programs facilitating leadership and growth in the Victoria tech community].
Tech Hub Winnipeg
Over a recent five-year span, tech employment in Winnipeg grew nearly 60 percent, according to Real Estate company CBRE.
That’s incredible growth! Meanwhile, the millennial population increased by 15 percent between 2009 and 2014. That’s faster than any tech market in Canada. And Amazon just opened up a large office there for its AWS Thinkbox services.
What’s spurring the rapid rise of this prairie tech hub? Generous tax credits for tech investing and R&D spending, to start. It has also encouraged partnerships between startups and government institutions, including labs and hospitals, to aid research. It’s a tech hub to watch!
Canadian tech hubs are hiring from abroad, too
Many tech professionals from abroad are entering these tech hubs via Global Talent Stream visas. We can at least provide the numbers to give you an idea of how VanHack helped put them there — in places you might not be thinking about (e.g., over 17 percent of our recruited international tech professionals went to… Winnipeg. Yes, Winnipeg).
Why are all of these tech hubs growing away from the big cities?
The big US companies like Amazon and Microsoft that are setting up branch offices in Canada have created a role-reversal. Since they’re sucking up a lot of the local tech talent, small towns that boast a balanced lifestyle and lower real estate costs are increasingly attractive to tech professionals from Canada or anywhere else in the world.
It’s also easier now, thanks to the Canadian government’s Global Talent Stream, to bring in talent from abroad to fill critical tech roles. That holds true for small towns as much as for big cities. It’s even an advantage for smaller centers, which offer a “great outdoors” experience that senior developers from abroad can prefer, to give their families a better quality of life.
The big story here? Innovation is everywhere. For those working in tech, you’ve got opportunities across Canada to pursue your dream.
AOT Technologies posted an articleAOT Technologies Ranks No. 7 in Canada and No. 1 in B.C. for Information Technology Companies on the Growth 500AOT Technologies in the list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies see more
– Canadian Business unveils annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies –
Victoria, BC (September 18, 2019) Canadian Business and Maclean’s today ranked AOT Technologies No. 74 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. AOT ranked No. 7 in Canada and No. 1 in British Columbia in the category of Information Technology. Produced by Canada’s premier business and current affairs media brands, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses on five-year revenue growth. Growth 500 winners are profiled in a special print issue of Canadian Business published with Maclean’s magazine and online at CanadianBusiness.com and Growth500.ca
AOT Technologies made the 2019 Growth 500 list with a five-year revenue growth of 1300%.
We’re honoured to be on the Growth 500, say George Philip and Praveen Ramachandran, AOT co-founders. Our growth is a direct result of our customer-centric focus, our investments in innovation, and the dedication of our team. Each of us at AOT want to take this opportunity to thank our clients and partners who have helped to fuel our growth.
AOT is an IT consulting and software development partner for start-ups, large enterprises, and government agencies. The company’s core service offerings are application integration, analytics, and Internet of Things.
Visit website: https://www.aot-technologies.com/
Visit LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/aot-technologies/
About the Growth 500
For over 30 years, the Growth 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com. For more information on the ranking, visit Growth500.ca.
Rob Abbott, Marketing and Communications Senior Manager
ArticlePlacing seventh overall, Victoria is shown to be a well-balanced City for youth to live. see more
Greater Victoria Tops in Youth Education and Creative Arts
VICTORIA, BC — For the first time, Greater Victoria has been included in the YouthfulCities Index placing number one out of 22 Canadian cities for education and creative arts for youth.
Placing seventh overall, Victoria is shown to be a well-balanced City for youth to live (8th place), work (9th place), and play (8th place). Additionally, the City was in the top five for employment, diversity and gender equity.
The YouthfulCities Index is the first public, national comparable urban index, measuring 121 indicators spanning 20 areas in which data has been collected by youth across the country. The Index is intended to create credible data for decision-makers, provide inspiration for urban innovation efforts, launch a network of young urban decoders, and provide national exposure for Canadian cities.
“We’re building a city where young people feel that they have a place and a voice,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “That’s why we are investing more than $1 million every year in programs that directly support youth and taking action to make Victoria a more affordable place live, raise a family, start a business and grow. What we learn from this national survey will help us plan how we can do even better.”
Through a partnership, the City of Victoria and the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) worked with Youthful Cities to have Victoria included in this year’s Index.
“It’s essential for the region to be an attractive and viable location for young people to stay here, or move here, and grow roots. The next generation of residents will be the driving force in our local economy, but we need to ensure we can continue to attract them here. The data from the YouthfulCities Index provides valuable insight about where we need to improve, but the findings also help us promote Greater Victoria and work collaboratively with organizations, like the Victoria Foundation, on youth-related initiatives, said Bruce Williams, Interim CEO of SIPP.
“As a recent graduate living and working in the region, the findings were definitely in line with the aspects of the city that my peers and I love about living here, but it also shines a light on some of the things we are frustrated with,” says Veronica Plihal, Chair of SIPP’s Youth Liaison Taskforce. “Our region needs to address issues like affordability, transportation, and access to well-paying career options.”
For More Information:
Head of Engagement, City of Victoria
Marketing and Communications Specialist, SIPP
About South Island Prosperity Partnership
The South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) is the economic development organization for Greater Victoria, B.C., comprised of 50+ members, including 10 local governments, seven First Nations, three post-secondary institutions, seven industry associations and non-profits, and more than 20 major employers, all working together to bolster the region’s economic and social prosperity. For more information: http://www.southislandprosperity.ca/
Tessa Bousfield posted an articleA pod of life sized Orca replicas are put in as a part of the "Pop up at the Square Design Comp." see more
Follow the Pod
WildVision Edutainment Inc and Envision Designs & Development are proud to introduce Follow The Pod to the City of Victoria. Follow The Pod brings whale-sized replica play-pieces to Centennial Square, showcasing members of the locally endangered Southern and Northern Resident Killer Whale populations.
The designs of each life-sized model are based on real-life members of the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. Follow The Pod honours the memory of deceased Southern Residents, as well as celebrates the lives of those who continue to prevail, despite constant threats to their survival.
With only 78 members left alive, Southern Residents will only get the protection they need if all Canadians work together to raise awareness and reduce threats. Follow The Pod will bring to light the importance of conservation through the power of edutainment.
To stay in the loop on this project, go visit it in person at Centennial Square or visit FollowThePod.com!
Below is a news clip from Kool 107.3fm from a few weeks ago.
Source: Kool 107.3km
Centennial square is getting some new residents today, as a pod of life sized Orca replicas are put in as a part of the "Pop up at the Square Design Competition."
Christopher Porter, creator of the Orcas, says the idea behind "Follow the Pod" is a way to educate the public, while having a great place in the heart of the city for people to interact with the animals.
"We included an RFID tag within the eyes of the killer whales, so people will be able to come up with their smartphones and devices, and they will be able to hear a story from that whale through their device, and actually get an updates about where the real killer whales are traveling."
All of the life-sized sculptures in Centennial square are based off of resident killer whales, and were designed by a Vancouver Island based team led by WildVision Edutainment Inc. and Envision Designs and Development.
Porter says there are only 78 southern resident killer whales in British Columbia, and hopes this will raise awareness about the endangered species.
Envision Designs & Development posted an articleGrab your binoculars! A pod of life-sized orca replicas will be popping-up in Centennial Square this summer.WildVision Edutainment Inc and Envision Designs & Development are proud to introduce FOLLOW THE POD! see more
VICTORIA BC - Viatec Members WildVision Edutainment Inc and Envision Designs & Development are proud to introduce Follow The Pod to the City of Victoria.
FOLLOW THE POD will bring whale-sized replica play-pieces to Centennial Square, showcasing members of the locally endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. Follow The Pod will honour the memory of deceased Southern Residents, as well as celebrate the lives of those who continue to prevail, despite constant threats to their survival.
With only 78 members left alive, Southern Residents will only get the protection they need if all Canadians work together to raise awareness and reduce threats. Follow The Pod will bring to light the importance of conservation through the power of edutainment!
Please visit www.FollowThePod.com for ongoing updates and further information.
Congratulations to the winners!
Grab your binoculars! A pod of life-sized orca replicas will be popping-up in Centennial Square this summer.
Selected from 33 submissions, ranging from design concepts from a local secondary school to as far afield as Indonesia, Mexico and Poland, the jury selected ‘Follow the Pod’ as the overall winner of the Pop Up @ the Square Design Competition. The ‘Follow the Pod’ play structure aims to raise awareness of the threatened Southern Resident Killer Whale population by allowing visitors to play and interact with the life-sized sculptures.
The winning design was submitted by a Vancouver Island-based team led by WildVision Edutainment Inc. and Envision Designs and Development. The winning team will receive a $5,000 award, and up to $50,000 for the design, construction and installation. ‘Follow the Pod’ will be installed in Centennial Square in early July.
Complete List of Winning Submissions:
- Overall Winner:‘Follow the Pod’ (WildVision Edutainment and Envision Designs and Development) #13
- People’s Choice Award Winner ($1,000 cash prize): ‘Game Plan’ (Waymark Architecture) #32
- Honourable Mention:‘Under the table and dreaming’ (Cascadia Architects Inc.) #9
- Honourable Mention:‘Spindle Whorl Playscape’ (Yiwen Ruan and Bo Lu) #24
About the Design Competition
In early 2017 urban designers, industrial designers, architects, landscape architects, contemporary artists and creative types were invited to apply to create a playful pop-up installation for kids of all ages in Centennial Square, in the heart of Victoria’s vibrant downtown.
Location: Centennial Square is located downtown next to Victoria’s City Hall, at Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue.
Jury Details: A panel of qualified jurors judged submissions based on the following criteria: play value, relationship to events, local context, robustness, feasibility.
About Centennial Square
Centennial Square is located in Downtown Victoria. The Square is bordered by Victoria’s heritage City Hall, the offices of the Capital Regional District and the MacPherson Playhouse Theatre. It is directly adjacent to Victoria’s Chinatown district, the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
Centennial Square is one of the City’s most popular outdoor event and festival venues. On average, there are programmed activities in the Square 130 days each year, ranging from food truck festivals and dance classes to outdoor markets and concert performances. Creating the opportunity for daily play and vibrancy while allowing the Square to continue to function as a primary outdoor event venue is a key objective of this design competition.
The City is coordinating a renewal of Centennial Square through a master plan. This long term planning exercise will begin in 2017, and guide future renovations to the Square.
Tessa Bousfield posted an articleNACO will hold its Regional Summit in Victoria in February of 2018 as a direct result. see more
Capital Mission Nets Big Results
VICTORIA, BC (April 21, 2017) – The City of Victoria’s 2017 Capital Mission has already started producing significant returns on investment for the region’s technology sector.
The Capital Mission is an opportunity for angel and venture capital investors with an interest in early stage innovative technology companies to visit Victoria. The event was held in February for the second consecutive year hosted by the City of Victoria, VIATEC and the Capital Investment Network (CIN).
As a direct result of the mission, the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) will hold its Regional Summit in Victoria in February of 2018. The Summit is expected to attract 100 Angel investors and NACO members to the city exposing those investors to Victoria’s thriving and dynamic tech industry.
“It is thrilling to see that in only two years our Capital Mission has attracted national and international attention”, said Mayor Helps. “We look forward to a large mission next year with the 100 investors at the NACO Summit kicking it off.”
"Through our accelerator and building on three decades of developing strong investor relations and awareness of Victoria’s tech sector, VIATEC was well positioned to expose hundreds of startups applying to the program with investors from far and wide,” noted Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “In recent years VIATEC, now 552 members strong, has benefitted greatly from the added support of our city. We are pleased that these efforts have culminated in a vital organization like NACO recognizing the vibrancy and potential of our region," added Gunn.
NACO is excited to join the Capital Mission in Victoria with the 2018 Western Regional Angel Summit. “This is an opportunity to continue our work to improve access to risk capital for early-stage Canadian companies. At the Summit, Angel investors meet face-to-face to share experiences and best practices,” says Yuri Navarro, NACO’s CEO. “Those conversations lead to meaningful connections that are imperative for building community and fueling the local and regional startup economies.”
"Angel investing is increasingly common and more accessible through education and connecting investors,” said Peter Elkins, Co-Founder of CIN. “Adding NACO as a partner for Capital Mission 2018 is an honour for Victoria."
Invitees for the 2017 Capital Mission experienced first-hand the city’s highly sought after quality of life, including how easy it is to travel to and from Victoria, the vibrancy of our innovative business community and the depth of our local deal flow. This year was fully subscribed once again, and 100% of attendees said they would refer the mission to someone in their network.
For more information on the Capital Mission visit www.victoria.ca/capitalmission
For More Information: