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Inside Toronto’s YouTube Space, where video stars can film high-quality content for free

By Jean Grant| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
Inside Toronto's YouTube Space, where video stars can film high-quality content for free

What: YouTube Space, one of the brand’s high-tech facilities for local creators Where: Three rooms (two studios and an event space) within George Brown’s downtown campus How big: 3,500 square feet for five full-time employees and almost 400 creators

At YouTube’s latest “space” (the ninth in the world), local YouTubers with more than 10,000 subscribers can join a totally free creative community within George Brown’s downtown campus. With access to two film studios filled with state-of-the-art equipment and custom-built set designs, it’s a sweet deal for creators—especially those with over 100,000 subscribers, who can book the space for eight-hour sessions up to three times a month. If you’re wondering what’s in it for YouTube, the answer is nothing, really: it’s all about improving the quality of content on the site.

There’s also a large events space, where YouTube hosts concerts, screenings, networking events, happy hours and milestone parties (for example, when a member hits 100,000 subscribers). It can fit about 75 people:

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Even though you need 10,000 subscribers to use the studios, anyone with 1,000 or over can come to the brand’s events—and potentially run into YouTube stars like Jus Reign, Lilly Singh or Matthew Santoro:

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The main studio was designed by students in George Brown’s art department to celebrate Canadian heritage. There are seven separate setup options in the cozy space, including this tribute to Wayne’s World, which resembles the suburban basement where Mike Myers and Dana Carvey filmed their skits:

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All of the tchotchkes were either found or made by art students. The bar next to the basement was painted by Toronto street artist Runt (of Lee’s Palace mural fame):

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Runt also created this larger mural, which would make a stellar backdrop for rap battles or Speaker’s Corner-style rants. You can also spot a dive-bar setup on the adjacent wall:

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The studio owns high-tech 4k and 360-degree cameras and a virtual reality rig. The space has five full-time employees to run the studios and help the artists prep for shoots:

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Next door is a more basic studio. When we visited, crafting duo The Sorry Girls were filming a piece about sewing cool floor cushions:

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There’s also a soundproof “whisper box” for voiceovers:

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