Pixar Canada

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Pixar Canada
TypeSubsidiary of Pixar
FoundedApril 20, 2010 (2010-04-20)
DefunctOctober 8, 2013 (2013-10-08)
Key people
Amir Nasrabadi (general manager)[1]
Dylan Brown (creative director)[1]
Darwyn Peachey (chief technical officer)[1]
Number of employees
100 (2013)[2]
(Walt Disney Studios)

Pixar Canada (stylized as P I X A R – C A N A D A) was a short lived wholly owned subsidiary of Pixar Animation Studios. It was located in Vancouver, British Columbia.[3] The studio was tasked to produce short films based on Pixar’s feature film characters.[4]

Pixar Animation Studios permanently closed Pixar Canada in October 2013, and laid off its approximately one hundred employees to refocus Pixar’s efforts at its main headquarters in Emeryville, California.[2] The former studio space is currently Industrial Light & Magic’s studio in Vancouver.[5]


Pixar Canada was established in May 2009,[6][7] and officially opened on April 20, 2010 in the area of Gastown of Vancouver, British Columbia.[1] The location was chosen for tax incentive reasons, for Vancouver’s computer generated animation talent pool and for time zone compatibility with the studio in Hollywood.[1]

The studio’s initial three year plan was to produce animated short films, based on established film characters by Pixar,[1] to be shown in all of the related businesses within Disney, including television, DVD compilations, internet, theme park attractions, and theatrical presentations.[3] Post production and stereoscopic work in 3D remained in the hands of the main studio of Pixar in Emeryville, California.[3]

Pixar Canada creative director Dylan Brown speaking in November 2009 at the Vancouver Film School’s Animation & Visual Effects Campus.[6]

Disney was attracted to Vancouver’s location because of tax incentives, and this closure comes in the wake of incentives in the British Columbia falling behind those offered by Ontario and Quebec. Pixar Canada produced a number of short films including Air Mater, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex, since 2010. Pixar’s shorts have been a proving ground for new directors and concepts for the studio.[8]

The studio was built to develop animated shorts presenting characters by Pixar which would be packaged with DVDs or featured on screens through its theme parks, as an ideal way to draw attention away from long waits for rides. A company spokesperson said the work done in Vancouver would be transferred to the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California.[9]

The animation establishment in Vancouver opened with much fanfare around Gastown in 2010, with an approval to produce short films based on esteemed Pixar characters. The company in Vancouver worked on layout, sets and characters, animation, effects, lighting and rendering departments.[10]

Walt Disney Studios closed its studio Pixar Canada based in Vancouver, leaving nearly one hundred employees of Pixar without any job three years after opening.[11] Viewers of the animation scene in Vancouver disregarded Pixar’s departure, suggesting the industry is robust enough in the province to easily absorb the displaced Pixar workers.[9]

When Pixar set in motion in British Columbia then came the arrival of studios, such as Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks, with Pixar touting Vancouver’s talent base, proximity, and shared time zone with Los Angeles and a digital animation tax credit offered by the government in British Columbia.

Provincial Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said that it was “disappointing” that Pixar is leaving the province, however, she saw the decision as tied to the company’s overall business strategy as opposed to the business climate in British Columbia.[9]

Shortly after the closure of the studio, Disney having then recently acquired Lucasfilm and its subsidiary companies, Industrial Light & Magic’s satellite division in Vancouver, originally opening into smaller offices in 2010, moved into Pixar Canada’s former studio in Gastown. The studio of ILM in Vancouver has since done primary character animation and visual effects with the headquarters of ILM in San Francisco on several films of Hollywood, including Warcraft, The Revenant, and Thor: Ragnarok.[5]


Release date Title Ref
November 1, 2011 Mater's Tall Tales: Air Mater [12]
November 23, 2011 Small Fry
June 5, 2012 Mater's Tall Tales: Time Travel Mater [13]
September 14, 2012 Partysaurus Rex [14]
March 22, 2013 Tales from Radiator Springs: Hiccups [15]
Tales from Radiator Springs: Bugged
Tales from Radiator Springs: Spinning
May 20, 2014 Tales from Radiator Springs: The Radiator Springs 500 ½ [16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cooper, Sam (April 20, 2010). "Pixar Canada studio in Vancouver to produce short films". The Province. Archived from the original on June 27, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Pixar Canada shuts its doors in Vancouver". The Province. October 8, 2013. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Sciretta, Peter (April 20, 2010). "Pixar Canada Officially Opens". Slash Film. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Valiquette, Mike (April 5, 2010). "jobby: Animator, Supervising Animator, Pixar Canada, Vancouver". Canadian Animation Resources. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Takeuchi, Craig. "Industrial Light and Magic opens permanent studio in Vancouver". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Pixar Canada Creative Director Comes to VFS". Vancouver Film School. November 20, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (May 7, 2009). "Disney/Pixar launching new studio". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Cohen, Steve. "Pixar Canada Closed In Surprise Move, Disney Lays Off 100 Employees". Variety.
  9. ^ a b c Ladurantaye, Steve; Bailey, Ian. "Pixar closes its Vancouver studio after 3 years". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  10. ^ Schaefer, Glen. "Pixar Canada shuts its doors in Vancouver". The Province. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Pixar Vancouver Studios closed 3 years after opening". dailyhive.com. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  12. ^ Gronvall, Andrea (November 27, 2012). "The Gronvall Files: To Canada (And Beyond?): PIXAR Canada Creative Director Dylan Brown". Movie City News. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "2011 BCFC Film and TV Production Stats". BCFC. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  14. ^ "Disney Supplement 2012". ToyWorld. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  15. ^ "Films". Pixar Canada. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Bryko (March 14, 2014). "New 'Cars' Short Will Kick Off Second 'Cars Toons' Series". Upcoming Pixar. Retrieved March 14, 2014.

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