In 2009, after much excitement throughout the online hacker community, a group of technology enthusiasts in Edmonton banded together to open the very first Edmonton Hackerspace. Briefly known as YEGSpace, this newly formed hacker collective initially met in pubs throughout the city.
It didn’t take long for the group to grow in size to the point of needing an established meeting space. The need for a space drove the group to formalize as the Edmonton New Technology Society. Once incorporated, ENTS sought out a space to call home. Eventually a suitable space was found in an old clothing factory in Queen Mary Park, downtown Edmonton. Impressive work went in to converting the factory to a usable space. Since July of 2009 ENTS has been open to the public as a community workshop.
In January 2012 ENTS moved to their current location. This new space which was previously a convenience store underwent a similar transformation to become the new home of Edmonton hobbyists. This new location which was also in the neighbourhood of Queen Mary Park came with garages which vastly increased the types of projects available to ENTS members. Having previously learned what worked for the membership in terms of facilities, this new space has been tailored much better to the memberships needs.
Throughout its existence, ENTS has worked to overcome the negative stigma of what a hacker is. The reality is that most hackers are really just expert recyclers. Hackers transform objects from what they were originally designed for into new and exciting things. The ENTS membership is varied and diverse, including many skillsets that build a well-rounded team of friends working together on both group projects and individual projects.
ENTS is part of a worldwide community of Hackerspaces, with similar spaces across Canada, the United States and nearly every other country in the world. ENTS is one of the largest spaces in Canada and proud to offer a model for aspiring spaces.
ENTS recognized that there were frequently unused rooms within the space. ENTS opened its doors to other non-profit groups in Edmonton to host events during these times, at no charge. This outreach program has been a great way for ENTS to give back to Edmonton and interact with groups who otherwise would not have any reason to work with us.
With the support of its members and the rest of the Edmonton community, ENTS hopes to continue to grow its membership and the facilities. As the Hackerspace movement grows and evolves around the world ENTS plans to continue contributing and growing with Hackers and Hackerspaces.