Canada's top gamers face off in Montreal for $15K in prizes

Canada’s top video game players are competing in front of a live audience tonight at the Olympia Theatre on Ste-Catherine Street.

Professional gamers from across Canada assembling for tournament

The Rainbow Six Canadian Nationals video game tournament is at Olympia Theatre in Montreal tonight. (CBC)

Canada's top video game players are facing off tonight in Montreal, at the Olympia Theatre on Ste-Catherine Street. 

Davide Bucci, a 19-year-old professional gamer from Beaconsfield in Montreal's West Island, and his four teammates are after the top prize of $10,000.  

"It's my life, so I do everything I can to be the best," said Bucci, who is known in the gaming world as Fox A.

The gamers will all be playing Rainbow Six Siege, a first-person shooter game Bucci has been playing since it was released in 2015.

Developing pro gaming in Canada 

Rainbow Six Siege is created by Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and it's generated a worldwide following. 

The tournament is organized by Northern Arena, a company that specializes in gamer events in Canada. 

The Rainbow Six Siege competition has been going on since June.

Carl-Edwin Michel, the founder of Northern Arena, said he hopes tournaments like this will help develop a professional gaming industry in Canada, so talented gamers don't have to move to the United States or Europe.

"What we're doing as much as possible is to create that platform where they can stay here and have a salary," said Michel.

Most of the players are from Montreal, but there are also gamers from Ontario and British Columbia in town for the tournament.   

Carl-Edwin Michel, the founder of Northern Arena, (CBC)

Michel, who grew up in Montreal but now lives in Toronto, started the company in 2015.

He said audiences flock to the tournaments — in 2016, 4,000 attended a tournament at the Bell Centre, and another 22 million watched online.

"That's the beauty of e-sports: because you're connected to that online platform you can reach a lot of people," Michel said. 

The Rainbow Six Canadian National Finals get underway at 7 p.m. at the Olympia Theatre, at 1004 Ste-Catherine Street East. The event is free.

With files from Navneet Pall