Entertainment

YouTube to shutter its Toronto creator space

YouTube says it'll close the company's only permanent Canadian studio later this year as it shifts strategies.

Toronto studio to be replaced by 'pop-up' temporary facilities in different regions

Introduced in 2016, YouTube Space Toronto joined the company's permanent outposts in other cities like Tokyo, Los Angeles, London and Paris. (YouTube)

YouTube says it'll close the company's only permanent Canadian studio later this year as it shifts strategies for how it reaches its creators.

The media giant sent an email on Thursday to its online creator community outlining plans to replace its Toronto studio with a "pop-up" approach that'll roll out temporary studios in different regions of the country.

It says the move will help YouTube's production assets reach Canadians in cities where they wouldn't otherwise have the resources.

"We are moving from a fixed model based out of YouTube Space Toronto into a community-based model where we'll meet creators where they live. This will include a mix of workshops, events and pop-up spaces, allowing us to better connect with the unique communities of creators from coast to coast," Mark Swierszcz, manager of YouTube Toronto studio, said in a statement.

"Given the size of the country and the fact that our creators are not all based in one city, we hope this new approach will help us to better connect with the unique communities of creators in every region."

According to a spokesperson, YouTube has staged two pop-ups in Montreal that got a positive response from local creators.

Toronto facility opened during 2016 boom

YouTube Space Toronto opened at George Brown College in spring of 2016 amid a boom in the growth of the creator community.

The 3,500-square-foot facility was accessible to YouTube personalities with over 10,000 subscribers, and the more popular their channels were, the more access they had to studio time.

YouTube brought in a host of popular creators for the opening in 2016, including (from left) Becky Wright and Kelsey MacDermaid (The Sorry Girls), Candice Hutching (Edgy Veg), Gregory Brown (AsapSCIENCE), Kimberly Snyder (Ask Kimberly), Anthony Deluca (Anthony DelucV), Yolanda Gampp (How to Cake It), Sara Lynn Cauchon (The Domestic Geek) and Kristen Sarah (Hopscotch the Globe). (CBC News)

It quickly became a hot spot for Toronto creators to mingle and tap into resources they might not otherwise have, such as equipment, workshops and space to hold launch parties.

Canadian musicians also dropped in for live performances, including country singer Jess Moskaluke, rapper Shad and rock performer Matt Good. They all recorded live concerts in the studio for their YouTube channels.

YouTube frequently invites its most popular personalities into the space to attract crowds. Ottawa creator Elle Mills, who has 1.6 million subscribers, will swing into the YouTube Space on June 6 for a meet-and-greet with fans.

A recent study by Ryerson University found there are about 160,000 YouTube creators in Canada, but the company's record for supporting Canadian content has been spotty.

Less than two years ago, YouTube proudly launched "Spotlight Canada," a curated page that promised to promote homegrown talent by highlighting standout videos. But the page quickly slipped into neglect and hasn't been updated in nearly six months.

The YouTube Space closure comes as the streaming giant moves away from occupying properties that aren't owned and operated by its Google parent.

The company also plans to close another YouTube Space in Mumbai, India, that operates on the grounds of a school, though locations in other cities, including New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles will stay open.

Mark Swierszcz, manager of the Toronto space, said in the statement that YouTube is looking into options for a different kind of permanent Toronto facility for local creators and "will have more to share very soon about a future home."

With files from CBC News