In a surprise move, Disney has shut down its Pixar Canada animation studio in Vancouver, laying off 100 people.
The closure is a blow to Vancouver's aspirations to develop its high-tech movie production sector and comes just three years after Disney's much ballyhooed entry into Canada.
The studio said it would move the jobs to its Emeryville, Calif., operation. The Vancouver studio closed Tuesday, the same day employees were notified.
"The team at Pixar Canada is incredibly talented, and we are so proud of the excellent work we have produced there," Disney-owned Pixar said in a statement.
"However, as we look at the creative and business needs of our studio, we've made the decision to refocus our efforts and resources under one roof in Emeryville and will be closing the studio in Vancouver."
Pixar officials were originally attracted to the city by B.C.'s Digital Animation or Visual Effects (DAVE) tax incentives.
The 20,000-square-foot animation studio in downtown Vancouver created short films based on Pixar features and tested out new ideas, including films such as Air Mater, Small Fry and Partysaurus Rex.
"With Pixar closing their office here in Vancouver, there are now 100 people who could step into any office that needs an animator," Ryan Nadel of digital firm Zeros 2 Heroes Media Inc., said in an interview with CBC News. "The question is, will they keep their talents here in Canada?
"Can we keep them here? Can we provide jobs beyond the big companies coming here and providing jobs and leaving and not establishing roots?"
On the same day Pixar closed its doors, more than 1,000 Vancouver residents lined up to apply for jobs at Vancouver social media firm HootSuite.
Vancouver's computer animation and effects scene still boasts Sony's Canadian animation facility, which had a key role in recent features Hotel Transylvania and The Smurfs 2, and indie startup Nitrogen Studios Canada, which is working on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg animated feature Sausage Party.