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Facebook office to open in Vancouver – just in time for B.C. election

The Vancouver tech scene is abuzz after Facebook confirmed it is planning to open a temporary recruitment and training office in the city this spring.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, March 7, 2013. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what's happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Vancouver tech scene is abuzz after Facebook confirmed it is planning to open a temporary recruitment and training office in the city this spring.

“We have selected Vancouver as the site for a temporary office for new (software) engineering hires,” said an emailed statement from the company’s Canadian headquarters in Toronto.

“Vancouver was chosen because of its proximity to our Menlo Park, California, headquarters and existing engineering office in Seattle, Washington, and because Vancouver is an attractive city for world-class talent to live and work.”

The company has yet to sign a lease, but it will locate in downtown Vancouver and the opening is targeted for the end of May and last a year.

Facebook’s expansion to B.C. is linked to talks between the company and the Office of the Premier.

The B.C. Lobbyist Registry shows that lawyer Erin O’Toole of Heenan Blaikie in Toronto was registered to lobby from November 16, 2011, to June 14, 2012, on behalf of Facebook’s Washington D.C.-based manager of global public policy, Sarah Wynn-Williams.

O’Toole’s intended outcome was “arranging meeting between an individual and a public office holder” to “make inquiries with respect to economic development programs in the province.”

The only target contact listed by O’Toole, who was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament in Ontario’s Durham riding last November, was Premier Christy Clark. The lobbyist registry does not show whether O’Toole met Clark, but it indicates he contacted Dimitri Pantazopoulos, who was then Clark’s principal secretary, on November 28, 2011.

Pantazopoulos was appointed Clark’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Trade and Federal-Provincial Relations in February 2012. Pantazopoulos is on leave of absence to work on the BC Liberals’ May 14 re-election campaign.