Google Canada has unveiled its new headquarters at the corner of Breithaupt and King Streets in Kitchener, Ontario on Thursday, with a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“This is fantastic news for Kitchener and demonstrates the confidence in our efforts locally to support and develop our incredible talent pool and collaborative ecosystem within our region,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
In the question-and-answer period after his tour of Google’s headquarters, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of integrating coding into education, to ensure that Canada supplies a tech literate workforce for the expanding technology ecosystem.
Located in a former rubber factory, the Breithaupt Block, Google’s 185,000 square foot office will house its current roster of 350 employees, with plenty of space to add hundreds more.
At the launch on Thursday, Google showed off its virtual reality technology to visitors, including the Prime Minister, along with Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains and MP for South Kitchener-Hespeler Marwan Tabbara.
“As companies like Google continue to make Kitchener their home, it reinforces the importance of two-way all-day GOTrain service and high speed rail to attract and retain knowledge workers, and allow private sector organizations along Canada’s innovation corridor to compete in the global economy,” added Mayor Vrbanovic, echoing recent calls by Kitchener-Waterloo entrepreneurs like Stephen Lake of Thalmic Labs to make transit options between K-W and Toronto more frequent and accessible.
“There is a unique ecosystem in Kitchener that allows innovators and entrepreneurs to connect, grow and build success together. There is no doubt that Google’s expansion in Kitchener will further develop that ecosystem to ensure that any company – large or small – can make it in Kitchener,” says Mayor Vrbanovic. “It will also give added momentum to the work that Toronto Mayor John Tory and myself are doing with others to move forward on the potential of the Toronto-Waterloo Region innovation corridor.”
Google opened its first office in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in 2005, with 30 employees, after acquiring mobile phone software developer Reqwireless.
In 2007, Google moved into the University of Waterloo’s David Johnston Research and Technology Park.
Then in 2011, Google occupied 80,000 square feet in the Lang Tannery Building’s Velocity Garage, which it just vacated this past November, almost immediately after which the city of Kitchener announced a $500,000 plan to fund a large expansion of the Velocity Garage.
The Google Canada development team has worked on Google Fiber, Conversion Optimizer, Doubleclick AdExchange, Mobile Gmail, Mobile Docs, Chrome, Chrome OS and commerce products like Shopper.
The Breithaupt Block is located directly across the tracks from the Region of Waterloo’s future multi-modal King & Victoria transit hub.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister announced a $12 million investment in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, a cleantech fund to be shared across several post-secondary institutions conducting research into water technology.