Vancouver (British Columbia), Feb 12, 2019—Tourism Vancouver, in conjunction with the VR/AR Association Vancouver, Creative, B.C., and the Vancouver Economic Commission, are excited to announce the launch of Vancouver Day at this year’s South By Southwest conference (SXSW): the largest interactive art, music, and technology festival in North America.

Vancouver Day will bring the best of the Canadian city’s technology innovators, eSports athletes, and musical artists to the Austin, Texas event on Sunday March 10. The 12-hour event will take place at Canada House, located at Bungalow bar, 92 Rainey Street.

The showcase will first spotlight Vancouver’s augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) ecosystem. Keynote speeches from Amy Peck (founder/CEO of EndeavorVR) and Martina Welkhoff (founding partner of the Women in XR Fund) will precede a panel about the reasons why Vancouver has risen to become the second largest AR/VR hub globally. Representatives from companies including Conquer Experience, Motive.io, and the VR/AR Association will discuss B.C.’s dynamic innovations to international stakeholders, and a number of top organizations will exhibit their cutting-edge technology. Together, they will demonstrate the reasons why Vancouver is a leading destination for tech investment and industry events, and has recently played host to world-class conferences including SIGGRAPH, TED, and the VR/AR Global Summit.

“It's been exciting to be part of the huge growth in the Vancouver and B.C. VR/AR community,” says Dan Burgar, president of the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association. “Seeing the number of companies working in this space expand from 15 to more than 220 over just a few years validates why we need to show the world that the city is ripe with opportunities. One of our goals is to collaborate with global organizations to develop our reach across borders, and continue that momentum. After our highly successful activation at the festival last year, we realized SXSW is a perfect platform to spread that message.”

The event will then highlight Vancouver’s burgeoning eSports scene. In 2018, the city hosted  the six-day International DOTA 2 championship to sell-out crowds of over 18,000, and became home to the Vancouver Titans—one of the 20 professional teams in the global Overwatch League. The afternoon will feature two panels: one providing an authoritative discussion of the opportunities and challenges of hosting eSports events, and the second offering a gripping conversation between an eSports athlete, a publisher, and an editor from the city. Spotlighting the city’s strong foundation in the burgeoning industry, the panel will demonstrate how Vancouver is poised and ready to host more world-class eSports events.

"After the enormous success hosting DOTA 2 International in Downtown Vancouver, we see the opportunity for the growth and expansion of Vancouver as a major eSports hub,” says Nancy Basi, executive director of media and entertainment at the Vancouver Economic Commission. “We are currently working with industry, government, and education facilities to build a strategy that will include government policy, post secondary education, events, venues, and technology platforms to lay a foundation for a expandable ecosystem."

Alongside demos from B.C.’s VR/AR companies including Shape Immersive, Eyexpo Technology, and Volumetric Camera Systems, Vancouver Day will also feature a number of activations that showcase the city’s culture, including an acroyoga demonstration and a hand-picked program of Canadian music with a focus on Vancouver artists. The combination of events will bring together developers, creators, investors, business leaders, government delegations, and foreign dignitaries from around the world to enjoy the best of the city’s arts and technology.  

“It’s an exciting time for tech in Vancouver and we are thrilled to showcase our city at SXSW as a destination that is both an ideal backdrop for industry events and welcoming to businesses,” says Ty Speer, CEO of Tourism Vancouver. “Vancouver has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, making us a talent magnet. Our downtown core has a diverse culinary scene and is just minutes away from world-renowned ski resorts and lush, natural forests. The West Coast lifestyle, one dedicated to health, wellness, mindfulness, and environment is a breath of fresh air for many who choose to work and play here. With sustainable venues and inspiring surroundings, Vancouver has attracted industry-leading conferences like TED and SIGGRAPH, growing our reputation as a globally-recognized technology hub.”

“Creative BC is thrilled to be a partner of the Vancouver Day at South By Southwest this year in support of BC’s emerging VR/AR creators,” said Robert Wong, vice-president of Creative BC. “We’re tremendously proud to showcase Vancouver’s thriving VR/AR sector to the world at SXSW. At Vancouver Day, creators and innovators will gain knowledge and make invaluable connections with Vancouver’s best VR/AR companies. With federal and provincial support last year, the VR/AR sector has continued grow with British Columbia emerging as the home base for innovation and creativity.”

Register to the following events via Eventbrite:

The Rise of the Vancouver AR/VR Ecosystem

Vancouver, the Centre of the E-Sports World

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About Tourism Vancouver

Tourism Vancouver is a destination marketing organization and business association representing approximately 1,000 members in tourism and related industries/activities. Its vision is for Vancouver to be known as the most exciting, attractive, and welcoming location in North America, and a must-visit year-round destination. Tourism Vancouver promotes the oceanside city’s combination of spectacular natural environment and unique urban culture, and connects top business leaders and conference organizers with Vancouver’s world-class events and hospitality services.

About VR/AR Association Vancouver

The VR/AR Association international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality ecosystem. Its goals are to foster growth, encourage research and education, help develop industry standards, and promote the services of member companies. The VR/AR Association Vancouver represents one of the largest ecosystems in the world and it accelerates the growth of the industry and viability in BC.

About Creative B.C.

Creative BC provides professional expertise and business support to strengthen B.C.'s motion picture, interactive digital, music, and publishing sectors. Its programs, services, and investments act as a catalyst to help these sectors realize their economic and creative potential and to contribute to the future prosperity of the province. Established by the provincial government, it collaborates with many provincial ministries and initiatives, municipal resources, and relevant industry associations and committees to grow the creative sector.

About Vancouver Economic Commission

The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) works to position Vancouver as a globally recognised city for innovative, creative, and sustainable business. It aims to strengthen the province’s tech, digital entertainment, and green economy sectors through strategic programmes and initiatives that address each stage of the business growth continuum. The VEC’s strategic initiatives and sector development, marketing and research, and Asia Pacific centre teams achieve these objectives through working directly with entrepreneurs, and the wide range of stakeholders with whom they interact—from elected officials and departments of all levels of government to peer organizations, industry associations, and educational institutions.

About the VHDA

The objective of the VHDA is to enhance Vancouver's destination awareness and increase overnight hotel stays, ensuring long-term growth and prosperity. The VHDA is made up of a group of 38 downtown Vancouver hotels who contribute to the Vancouver Destination Marketing Fund. The VHDA invests in initiatives aimed at ensuring the continued long-term growth and prosperity of Vancouver, creating value for all partners in the tourism sector.

Contact:

Michael Drake, Director of Sales, Tourism Vancouver

http://tourismvancouver.com

mdrake@tourismvancouver.com  

Dan Burgar, President of Vancouver VR/AR Association

http://vraravan.com

dan@thevrara.com