City of Kitchener collaborates with Conestoga College School of Creative Industries expansion to boost creative industries in Downtown Kitchener

Earlier today, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, together with Conestoga College President John Tibbits, announced a collaborative initiative to expand the Conestoga College School of Creative Industries in Downtown Kitchener.

As part of the expansion, students will have access to innovative and flexible programs in such areas as game-art, artificial intelligence in design, visual design, special effects, virtual reality merchandising, motion graphics, esport in addition to animation, game design, interactive design, virtual reality production, visual merchandising, and video production. These leading-edge programs will attract new talent and support the success of established, start-up and scaling companies within the city. The programs prepare students for in-demand creative careers in game-art, artificial intelligence in design, visual design, special effects, virtual reality merchandising, motion graphics, etc. Conestoga College expects to double its program offerings across various credentials, including diplomas, degrees and graduate certificate programs. 

"Arts and culture speaks to the soul of a community. The creative industries sector is where that soul comes to life - whether it is where we find the kind of vibrant live cultural experiences we need as a growing world-class city and region or where we turned to for the music and film that comforted us during the challenging days of the pandemic," said Mayor Vrbanovic. "Every community’s need for a vibrant arts & culture scene is a key reason why creative industries were identified as a key area for investment in our Make It Kitchener 2.0 economic strategy. With the ongoing demand in cities like Kitchener for creative talent, comes a predictable skills shortage. Today’s partnership with Conestoga College will help address this shortage, and will invest in the people, talent and job creation necessary to make creative industries thrive for our community and for cities everywhere.”

Conestoga College's creative industries campus, which will be located in downtown Kitchener, will be home to a state-of-the-art facility designed to inspire creativity and innovation and is sure to attract the biggest and brightest minds to foster these creative skills. Several specialized learning spaces will be available on campus, including animation studios, design labs, art rooms, fabrication labs, augmented reality and visual effects labs, and collaborative and exhibit areas. 

“We are delighted to be working with the City of Kitchener to expand our School of Creative Industries and develop the talent that will fuel growth in the local creative economy,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We look forward to our work together to help realize the City’s vision for the future of our dynamic community.”

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a collaborative planning process to obtain the necessary approvals, funding and location to establish a downtown Kitchener site where students feel welcome and have access to all the services, amenities, housing, and networks that will ensure they're a part of our Kitchener community.

"Downtown Kitchener is an ideal ecosystem for future leaders in creative industries," said Ward 10 Councillor Sarah Marsh. "I look forward to seeing what impact entrepreneurial graduating students will have on downtown and our broader Kitchener community."

“By building our capacity and footprint, we will attract, train and nurture world-class talent that will help the City of Kitchener become a global leader in creative industries,” said Pejman Salehi, Executive Dean of Conestoga’s School of Creative Industries. “They will be the leaders of the future, armed with the skills and knowledge to embark on innovative ventures that will transform our community.”

To learn more about the City's Make It Kitchener 2.0 strategy, visit and the Conestoga College's School of Creative Industries


For more information:

Bethany Rowland
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing, City of Kitchener

Brenda Cassidy
Director, Corporate Communications & Government Relations
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning