Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A KEEN USER – Stephen Anderson-Lindsay, a member of NorthLight Innovation, is a user of the hot desks at the centre.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

HEADING TOWARD COMPLETION – There are still some finishing touches to go to get NorthLight Innovation ship-shape, such as in the mechanics shop.

NorthLight Innovation poised for grand opening

On Sept. 4, the non-profit YuKonstruct Society opened the doors of NorthLight Innovation after several months of renovation to the old Food Fair/Super Valu grocery store on Second Avenue.

By Whitehorse Star on October 11, 2018

On Sept. 4, the non-profit YuKonstruct Society opened the doors of NorthLight Innovation after several months of renovation to the old Food Fair/Super Valu grocery store on Second Avenue.

The grand opening ceremony for the first community innovation hub North of 60 will take place early this evening.

The 24,000-square-foot facility is now the rallying point for all of their members. The move has consolidated their organization and services under one roof, along with facility partners Yukon College and the Yukon Development Corp.

Services include:

• makespace, the community workshop. Incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and studios – where the maker community comes together to share resources and knowledge to build and create.

• cospace, the shared workspace. Downtown Whitehorse, the hub for the Yukon’s entrepreneurial community to work, collaborate and build a strong community of visionaries;

• launchspace, a new collective initiative to foster business development and innovation in the North, including conferences, programs and business services through the Canada Business Network that help early-stage entrepreneurs in the Yukon take their ideas to the next level; and

• NorthLight Innovation houses 40 hot desks, 16 dedicated desks, 12 private offices, eight studios, one event space, two classrooms, one boardroom, two meeting rooms, two lounge spaces, two woodshops, one metal shop, one digital fabrication lab, one sewing loft and one hackerspace.

“As the first community innovation hub North of 60, Northlight Innovation gathers partners and key players of the innovation-based entrepreneurial ecosystem with approximately 200 members and tenants,” said Jaret Slipp, YuKonstruct’s executive director.

“YuKonstruct shares the space with Yukon College’s Cold Climate Innovation, Yukon Development Corporation, Startup Whitehorse, Canada Yukon Business Network Services, Yukon Women in Trades and Technology (YWITT) and other tenants from both private and public sectors.”

Yukoners can access the space and the different services offered through different levels of membership.

“We are excited to work with our partners at NorthLight Innovation to support entrepreneurs and diversify the Yukon economy,” said Shelagh Rowles, the executive director of community, innovation and development at Yukon College.

This vision came to light via major contributions from the Yukon government and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the funding partners of NorthLight Innovation.

“NorthLight Innovation is an opportunity for Yukon innovators, entrepreneurs and professionals to collaborate, share their knowledge and skills, and foster innovation and growth,” said Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai.

“The Yukon government is proud to support this dynamic new space, which will support the small business community, grow our knowledge-based industries and diversify our economy.”

Local, national, and international sponsors are also engaged in the project and more are on their way.

“We are beyond thrilled and grateful to these sponsors for their investment in our vision and taking innovation and entrepreneurship to new heights with us,” said Lauren Manekin Beille, YuKonstruct’s director of community development.

“These players include Northern Vision Development, Cisco, Home Hardware, NorthwesTel, Air North Yukon’s Airline, Marg and Rolf Hougen, Yukon Brewing, Whitehorse Motors, I.G. – Davy Joly, Ajax Steel Limited, What’s Up Yukon, and Yukon Built.”

Events around this evening’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 5:00, with registration and networking. The grand opening ceremony will take place from 5:30 to 6:15, when the ribbon will be snipped.

The keynote speakers will be Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, representing the federal government, Premier Sandy Silver, Pillai, Rich Tompson of Northern Vision Development, Rowles and Slipp.

“The north light is the light coming from the North, in the Northern Hemisphere,” YuKonstruct said.

“It consists of natural light which comes from the blue sky rather than directly from the sun, considered ideal by architects and artists.

“This new hub will light up our economic ecosystem and inspire our next generation of northern makers and entrepreneurs.”

YuKonstruct has been based in downtown Whitehorse since 2014.

Its mission is to empower Yukoners to bring their ideas to life in a creative, innovative community by providing access to collaborative space, resources and support.

Comments (17)

Up 5 Down 1

Al on Oct 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm


Ah I have misunderstood. I am not opposed to the project - in fact the opposite. All I was asking was what is the amount of money that both Governments are putting up? I still do not know and I think it is a question worthy of a response.

I am sure the facility will get great use, in fact I will be dropping in myself.
As for the Liberals - it will be nice to wave goodbye to them next year.
By the way, thank you on behalf of all veterans for your kind words. It is appreciated.


Up 3 Down 4

woodcutter on Oct 17, 2018 at 3:42 pm

To the liberal hating ilk, that spew there tax payers protectionism dogma, give it a break.

We in the Yukon now have a facility that will act as a collection point for those with creative ideas to solve problems. The ideas may seem wild and the individual may not have all the knowledge to create all the moving pieces, but at this center they will be in contact with people who can collaborate to make things click. I few sheckles from the tax payer is small potatoes to create an innovation hub, and should be viewed as investments in our community.

To Al, thank you for your service and sorry you had to experience combat, however try to see this as what your service was for, to protect what we feel as our rights to explore and gather together to try to make life better, if folks get rich in the process, that too is what the military service is meant to protect. Also try to keep in mind that the Harper circus had 10 years to address the concerns our soldiers have, however all that was gotten from him was a promise in his last election, and we seen how that turned out. Now we have the liberal crew klutzing things up.

Up 16 Down 3

Groucho d'North on Oct 15, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Philo T. Farnsworth was just 14 when he had the idea that would shape the rest of his life. He invented the television. There are many other young people who were inspired to create gizmos we use in many different ways today. All they needed was an opportunity to discuss and experiment with like-minded people and things happened.
I like to believe that some Yukon kids could be hatching some breakthrough that can be revealed at this new place of trial, error and learning.
I am hoping for greatness to be found there.

Up 5 Down 3

CC Ryder on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:30 am

@ Al
What you 'distinctly' remember and what is reality are vastly different. Please cite where/when I made such a claim.

Up 17 Down 4

Juniper Jackson on Oct 14, 2018 at 3:35 am

Its very interesting to get these little insights into posters.. To Al: Thank you for your service..

But to pull everyone back to the topic.. I think there is a lot of value in this space.. Sandy P. that passed away , bless her heart, had great dreams for this place. Many young who make use of the offerings here will learn skills not ordinarily available to them, unable to learn a trade in school, they can here.. Innovation? They can bring their idea here too.. Yeah.. NDV make a fortune out of the deal but where ever this group went it was going to cost a lot of money to reno it...Good luck to everyone. I hope it works out.

Up 17 Down 5

No wonder no one wants to run for politics on Oct 13, 2018 at 7:52 am

All the negative talk does not help anything or anyone.

Up 15 Down 4

Casca on Oct 12, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Ok Al, you are the biggest, bestest Yukoner EVER!!
Seriously though, people join the armed forces for a variety of reasons, not all of the altruistic.
You saw combat? Good for you.
Is that the measure of what makes someone a good Canadian, or a good Yukoner for that matter? It certainly wasn't a case of "your country called, you answered"...
You seem to feel the need to bash readers over the head with your service, and that alone makes me suspect.....
Oh, you got a degree at Dalhousie?? Winter in Halifax?
Your judgment is suspect...

Up 7 Down 14

al alcock on Oct 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

That may be; but I distinctly remember you saying you were born "outside" and that you lived here just a few years and then moved "outside". I was born here. I must admit though I took a break to serve my country for 16 years, some of it in combat (likely more than you did) and to get a university degree at Dalhousie...

Up 19 Down 2

joe on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Follow the key players, follow the money.

Up 15 Down 4

CC Ryder on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm

@ Al
Yup. Still around. Family has been in the Yukon since 1898. How 'bout you? Did you come in the great hipster wave of 2010 from Ontario?

Up 12 Down 7

ProScience Greenie on Oct 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Would have been super impressive if they would have 3-D printed the entire renovation project but they went the traditional Yukon way by milking the gravy train and feeding consultants and contractors. No big deal as that's the way things work up here and if we had the Yukon Party and Harper still in power this project would still have gone ahead with the same bloat, photo ops and everything else. Just the way things are. In the big picture this group is promoting STEM and we need more of that, not less even if it isn't cost effective.

Up 19 Down 5

My Opinion on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Good luck but it seems to be a whole lot about nothing.

Up 25 Down 3

My Opinion on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Another Fridge Door opening for Larry. Hope he can stay awake for the ribbon cutting. Time to retire Larry.

Up 23 Down 6

yt on Oct 11, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Yay. We got an innovation hub.
All I know is that this was a heck of a deal for Pillai's old employer NVD.

Up 15 Down 10

Al on Oct 11, 2018 at 5:16 pm

You still around?
Your views and opinions matter not.

Perhaps a Yukoner could answer my questions, not someone who does not live here.
What is the cost to the taxpayer?

Up 23 Down 24

CC Ryder on Oct 11, 2018 at 4:24 pm

@ Al
I guess your seething rage against 'all-that-is-Liberal' really limits your cognitive thought process.
If you'd actual read the article you'd know that it is a 'not for profit' organization. Not for profits have many potential revenue streams. From the article:

"This vision came to light via major contributions from the Yukon government and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the funding partners of NorthLight Innovation."

"Local, national, and international sponsors are also engaged in the project and more are on their way."
Aside from funding from governments (available to any NFPs that can submit proposals) and shared O&M cost with other NFP organizations under the same roof the users pay a monthly subscription that varies based on the areas/services they use.

Now this innovation may make you feel uncomfortable, but just turn your head the opposite way on your way into the liquor store and pretend it isn't even there.

Up 31 Down 32

Al on Oct 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm

...and if I may be so bold to ask - How much is this costing the taxpayer, both territorial and federal? Also who is paying the O&M, and what is the cost of that ?
I see Mr. Eats will be there - but of course Larry wouldn't miss free goodies. Just being a liberal that he is...

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