Welcome to The Cube: Vancouver gets its first virtual reality hub

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Welcome to The Cube: Vancouver gets its first virtual reality hub

Founders of a new virtual reality hub are hoping to turn Vancouver into a VR powerhouse.

The Cube is a new tech incubator in Vancouver's Railtown, focusing solely on companies involved in VR and augmented reality.

Co-founder David Gratton says the space aims to help startups get off the ground, offering entrepreneurs workspace, cheap gear and a lot of heads to bounce ideas off of.

"This is a place that brings everyone together," Gratton told CBC News. "This is really critical for us to take advantage for what's going to be a new type of computing that's going to dominate the world in the next five, seven years," he told CBC News.

The virtual ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, which included Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Canada's minister of innovation, Navdeep Bains, and B.C. Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston.

Creating jobs, but short supply

Gratton says the goal is to facilitate the growth of augmented reality, which is becoming a cornerstone of B.C.'s booming tech industry.

However, there are challenges ahead.

The sector is currently experiencing a major labour shortage that's expected to swell over the next five years.

As many as 35,000 jobs will need to be filled by 2021.

"There's already a shortage of engineers and 3D talent," said Gratton. "This hub is about retraining people with core skill sets in 3D animation, visual effects and general computing on how to do [virtual reality] computing."

Gratton says the space, which was created as an extension of B.C.'s Tech Innovation Hub, will offer technical training programs run by instructors at BCIT to keep workers skills up to date.