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Great Northern Way Campus Ltd
Established 2001
Type Private Limited Company
President Matthew Carter
Faculty 6 full-time
Students 21
Location Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
49°16′3″N 123°5′30″W / 49.2675°N 123.09167°W / 49.2675; -123.09167Coordinates: 49°16′3″N 123°5′30″W / 49.2675°N 123.09167°W / 49.2675; -123.09167
Campus Urban, 7.5 ha (0.075 km2)
Affiliations University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Great Northern Way Campus Ltd (GNWC) is a private limited company and educational enterprise located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is the offspring of a consortium of four local academic institutions (the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the British Columbia Institute of Technology) that has attracted significant public and private funding. Its stated purpose is to become "a centre of convergence for arts and culture, digital media and the environment."[1] At present, it manages a Masters Degree in Digital Media, which admitted its first students in the Fall of 2007.



In 2000, the industrial distributor Finning International donated 7.5 hectares (20 acres) of former industrial land in the False Creek flats area of Vancouver to the four academic partner institutions.[2] The presidents of each institution, along with municipal and regional government officials, as well as representatives of private industry, decided to develop this brownfield area into a collaborative, mixed-use campus and commercial environment.

For the first several years of its existence, the company (under the presidency of CEO Professor Dennis Pavlich) ran at a sizeable loss: almost CAD$1.4million in 2005, for instance.[3] The extent of this unprofitability is now decreasing.[4]

In January 2007, the consortium established a framework for academic programming, determining that all GNWC degrees are to be jointly credentialed by the four partner institutions, and will bear the seals and logos of each.[5]

In March 2009, the company's president and board of directors were replaced. The new president is Matthew Carter, who "has an extensive background in real estate finance and development." The new board is predominantly made up of local businessmen. Its chair is Jamie Bruce, of investment banking firm Capital West Partners.[6]

Educational program

The Masters of Digital Media (MDM) program is GNWC's first academic program. This 20-month, full-time graduate degree program was launched in September 2007 with an initial cohort of 21 students. The curriculum includes a combination of supervised project coursework and internships, and students work in interdisciplinary groups with both faculty members and industry professionals.[7]

The program is backed by a 2006 grant of CAD$40.5 million from the Province of British Columbia[8] and by a 2007 commitment of CAD$1 million from the US computer game firm Electronic Arts.[9] It also charges students $10,000 per semester ($15,000 for non-Canadians).[10] Justifying this expense, the company's then CEO, Bruce Clayman, described it as "premium tuition for a premium program."[11 ]

The program has won some media attention for using Second Life as a recruiting tool.[11 ]

The MDM program is housed in the Centre for Digital Media, a multimedia facility housed in a former office building. Parts of this building are also leased out.

At an earlier stage in the planning process, the MDM was to have been dubbed a "Masters in Digital Entertainment." It had also been expected that courses "combin[ing] policy research with community action" would be offered by Summer 2005, and that courses in "theatre, industrial design and the graphic arts" as well as a scenography class would be available.[12] As of 2008, courses "in the areas of Sustainability and Arts + Culture" are still at the planning stage.[13]

Rental business

The GNWC complex is mixed-use, and the company leases much of its space both back to its four parent academic institutions and to commercial tenants.

Academic research projects that rent space at GNWC include BCIT's Centre for the Advancement of Green Roof Technology [14] and UBC’s Solar Canopy Project[15]. BCIT also offers trades and apprenticeship programs and courses, as well as green roof technology courses, within the site's precincts.

In addition, New Media B.C., UBC Properties Trust, and the Justice Institute of British Columbia all have offices in the GNWC grounds. There are also artistic production and rehearsal spaces for rent.[16]

Property development

GNWC has announced ambitious plans to redevelop its donated property. The land is to be divided into four zones: an academic core, which will be surrounded by four blocks devoted to business and commerce, plus a large residential development, and "green space and public amenity" at the other edge of the site.[17]

External links


  1. ^ "Our Vision." GNWC Website
  2. ^ "Finning Donates Land for High-Tech Campus: Four institutions of higher learning get six city blocks east of False Creek." The Vancouver Sun (Nov 17, 2001)
  3. ^ Emily Carr financial statements for 2005
  4. ^ See for example UBC consolidated financial statements of 2007, in which GNWC represented a net loss to the university of CAD$250,000, compared to CAD$364,000 for the previous year.
  5. ^ "GNWC 2007 Year in Review".  
  6. ^ "New Board and President appointed at Great Northern Way Campus". March 19, 2009.  
  7. ^ "Masters of Digital Media program website".  
  8. ^ "$40M for New Program Gives BC Competitive Edge in Digital Entertainment Industry, Media Release, UBC Public Affairs, Feb. 22, 2006".  
  9. ^ "Digital program gets $1-million boost from EA, Vancouver Sun, May 03, 2007".  
  10. ^ "How much does the program cost?" MDM website
  11. ^ a b Randy Shore, "Second Life lands B.C. campus". Vancouver Sun (October 18, 2006).
  12. ^ "Planning for the Great Northern Way Campus". UBC Reports 51.2. University of British Columbia. 2005-02-03..  
  13. ^ "Students". Great Northern Way Campus Ltd.  
  14. ^ "Centre for the Advancement of Green Roof Technology website".  
  15. ^ "UBC's Solar Canopy Project website".  
  16. ^ "A plan to end Vancouver's theatrical brain drain, The Globe and Mail, Jan 01, 2008".  
  17. ^ "Campus Development".  


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