From Murray Rankin's Desk: Tour of Fort Tectoria

This afternoon I enjoyed a tour of VIATeC’s Fort Tectoria with CEO Dan Gunn. A tall neon sign at 777 Fort Street is perhaps the most eye-catching evidence of an industry that, Dan admits, is largely hidden within unmarked second floor offices downtown. But that industry is big news. With over 900 companies in Victoria employing 20,000 people and generating annual revenues in excess of $3 billion, technology is our #1 industry.

Not so long ago, the idea of Victoria as an eme...rging tech hub seemed far-fetched, even to many in the fledgling industry. But with the sector’s total economic impact now routinely estimated at more than $4 billion, the importance of high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship to our future has become conventional wisdom.

Like other ‘next cities’ to the south—from Portland, to Boulder and Austin—Victoria is increasingly home to tech-savvy millennials drawn here by world-class educational institutions, outdoor pursuits, and a reassuring abundance of craft breweries. With leadership from groups like Dan Gunn’s VIATeC, Victoria’s downtown is slowly being transformed into fertile ground for start-ups.

Since its September launch, Fort Tectoria has opened a public café and work/study area on the ground level. The building provides lightning-fast WiFi, event space, and a home for growing start-ups on its upper floors. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to drop by and take a look around!

As someone who’s committed to a low-carbon, high-tech economy in Canada, I’m keen to support our flourishing tech sector in Victoria—not only locally, but also through federal initiatives like expanding access to broadband across Canada.