Why Tech is Betting on Vancouver

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As the TED Conference moves in, the city aims to be at the forefront of technology and ideas.

This March the TED Conference—the annual series that convenes some of the world’s most provocative thinkers for five days of talks—is moving from its home in Long Beach, California, to Vancouver (March 17–21; conferences.ted.com). “The city’s vibrant cultural mix and spectacular natural backdrop were both a draw,” says TED community and fellows director Tom Rielly. “Com­bined with the city’s state-of-the-art convention center, we agreed Vancouver had the potential to inspire even greater creative thinking.” The move is only the latest in a series of coups for the city as it emerges as a tech capital. Talent is an important reason—the University of British Columbia is among the world’s leading research universities and has become a major site of recruitment for tech companies. It’s also easier for international employees to obtain work visas in Canada than in the United States. It’s unsurprising then that within the past year, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have all made plans to open offices in the city, and homegrown social-media app HootSuite continues to expand. Here, a look at the power players on Vancouver’s innovation scene.


Though the exact details of the new offices remain unknown (there hasn’t even been speculation as to the location or size), Twitter has placed ads for computer science graduates within the past year as it plans to open a “global center of excellence” in the city.


After five years in Long Beach, the talks are moving to the Vancouver Convention Centre, which features a six-acre green-roof garden as well as a custom-designed theater that actually accommodates fewer people, as TED aims for a more intimate—not larger—experience.


The Seattle-based online retailer plans to open a 91,000-square-foot office—with enough space to employ nearly 1,000 people—at the TELUS Garden development in downtown Vancouver, set to open in 2015.


Facebook, the world’s largest social-networking site, signed a three-year lease on a 20,000-square-foot office space inVancouver’s Coal Harbour that opened in May 2013; the company is recruiting approximately 150 employees, mostly software engineers.


Founded in 2008 in Vancouver, the social-media-management app has become a powerhouse (its dashboard is used by 70 of the Fortune 100 companies) that expanded last year from a 14,000-square-foot office to a 33,000-square-foot building with room to grow.