04/26/2016 18:03 EDT | Updated 04/27/2017 01:12 EDT

First Canadian YouTube Space to act as creative hub for homegrown creators

TORONTO — YouTube has proven to be fertile ground for a growing crop of Canadian content creators whose videos have amassed millions of views on the streaming service.

Now, some homegrown personalities who film out of their kitchens and living rooms will have a dedicated hub to call their own with the first-ever YouTube Space in Canada.

The downtown Toronto campus of George Brown College will house the newly launched 3,500 square-foot facility, which YouTube creators will be able to access free of charge.

Events are slated to be held throughout the year for creators of every subscriber level. Those with channels that have more than 1,000 subscribers can attend workshops and events. Creators with more than 10,000 subscribers can also apply to use the production facilities and participate in additional programs.

Similar spaces also exist in London, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Berlin and Paris.

Liam Collins, head of YouTube Spaces for the Americas, said the goal is to bring content creators together to "learn, create and connect." To that end, workshops are held at the spaces on everything from how to light a green screen to how to grow audiences and make money from the service.

"A YouTube Space is a facility, but more than that, it's an idea," said Collins.

"And the idea is that when people come together in person, it enhances everyone's creative work product. And we love to have the opportunity to have creators lay eyes on one another and be able to connect in person. They've given us the feedback that that's a really valuable experiment for them."

One of the corridors in the Toronto space is lined with posters of some of YouTube's top Canadian talents, touting their subscriber totals and notable clips in their catalogues.

Among them is Lilly Singh — aka Superwoman — who has more than 8.5 million subscribers tuning into her sketch comedy videos. She recently landed a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show."

Edmonton-born musician Mike Tompkins and the Toronto-based educators behind channel AsapSCIENCE are also among the Canadian creators racking up millions of views and subscribers.

"People all over the world watch the content our Canadian creators make," said Collins. 

"That's something that is inherent to YouTube — this global reach and diversity. And Canada is just such a great exemplar of that trend."

YouTuber Anthony Deluca admitted filming segments in Toronto is challenging due in part to the difficulties and costs of obtaining permits.

"I was trying to look for an apartment while moving into the city that had the sort of esthetic quality that I wanted that was also large enough to film in, and that comes at a premium when it comes to rent," said Deluca, whose channel is dedicated to men's fashion, lifestyles and DIY beauty.

"Having the opportunity to come to a space like this provides a lot of us with those (logistics) ... to try new equipment and have that space."

AsapSCIENCE co-creator Gregory Brown attended an event at a YouTube Space in New York, which was livestreamed on his channel, and has collaborated with fellow YouTubers in the L.A. space. He said he's happy to have a similar environment closer to home.

"We love Toronto," said Brown. "We have no inclination to go to the States, which there is a pressure to do.

"We want to stay here, we want to do all of our work here. So now we have a place where we can collaborate with other people and do all of those events here."

— Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.


Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press