CityMash.com - YouTube has certainly come a long way since it was launched nearly 12 years ago in February 2005. Once known for hosting little more than cat videos and primitive memes, YouTube has grown to rank second on Alexa and spawned a legion of YouTube celebrities, many with millions of subscribers.
Having given people the world over a platform on which to release their own personal content, a number of Vancouverites have jumped to the fore, providing fresh, compelling, hilarious and dorky videos for their fans.
Here’s a look at Vancouver’s Top YouTube Stars.
Total Views: 162 million
Linda Dong, otherwise known as LeendaD, started her YouTube channel back in November 2011. Some of her earliest content featured humourous send-ups of social dynamics in relation to university life and gender relations, including breakups.
The self-described avocado-lover’s ability to poke fun at herself and use experiences from her own life (including growing up in a strict Vietnamese household) quickly endeared her to fans, and she has risen become one of the most notable YouTube celebrities in Vancouver.
Total views: 206 million
Davin Tong launched his YouTube channel back in January 2009 using the persona “Chinese Guy” (and later Peter Chao)to comment on everything from Valentine’s Day and casinos to the whole Chris Brown and Rihanna mess.
Known for his unconventional portrayals of Asian stereotypes (a common theme among Vancouver YouTubers), Tong’s over-the-top persona has often been confused with a real person. Tong claims to speak for “timid Asians all around the globe.”
Tong’s videos have occasionally skirted the line with racism, a claim Tong rejects. However, if his videos are taken with a helping of salt, they’re flat out funny. Plus he seems to have a strange, one-sided, love-hate relationship with Justin Bieber, which never hurts the page click totals.
Convos With My 2-Year-Old
Total views: 103 million
The concept is simple: A man films a web series of conversations with his 2-year-old daughter. The twist, that his 2-year-old daughter is portrayed in the videos by another full grown man, is what gives this channel its novel appeal.
The series stars dad Matthew Clarke and David Milchard, playing Clarke’s daughter, Coco Frances Harrison-Clarke. Typically each episode has a simple concept taken from Clarke’s real life experiences with his daughter, which become hilarious when acted out by an adult male.
Clarke started his channel relatively recently, in May 2013, but the novelty of the series has already garnered more than 100 million views.
Total views: 38 million.
Karissa Pukas is a leader in Vancouver in one of YouTube’s most popular sub-genres: Beauty, fashion and lifestyle focused on 20-somethings.
Born in Salmon Arm before becoming a Vancouver resident and later moving to Australia, Pukas has grown to become a voice in the fashion industry, even launching her own brand of eyelashes called SocialEyes.
Her uploads include tutorials, style guides and reviews, as well as vlogs about her life and travel adventures.
Total views: 478 million
While uploading videos of beauty tips has yielded huge page views for many YouTubers, it doesn’t compare to the massive amounts of traffic gameplay videos can garner.
Since joining YouTube in 2006 Ryan Letourneau, aka northernlion, has been such a beneficiary, reaping a huge audience who loves to watch him play games with his own witty brand of commentary
Together with “The NLSS Crew,” Letourneau has consistently produced highly entertaining playthroughs of a number of less notable games, not only providing hilarity for fans along the way, but also supporting smaller game developers as well.
Recommended viewing (NSFW language warning):
High On Life
Total views: 33 million
Driven by the motto “If you can, you should,” High on Life produces videos which encourage viewers to get out of the house and explore all the beauty and fun the world has to offer.
The channel features videos with three travel-addicted friends, Parker, Ryker and Rush, who visit some of the most spectacular places in the world to film videos.
However the results haven’t always been positive. Last year the group got into hot water – literally – for going out of bounds to record video in the spectacular Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, which landed two of the group’s members with jail time.
Total views: 50 million
Unlike many popular YouTube channels which are primarily run by just a single person, IFHT Films is a production company based out of Vancouver which works to produce high quality comedy videos.
The channel was originally started by Matt Dennison and Jason Lucas back in 2009 but didn’t begin to rise in popularity until four years ago with its “STUFF EVERYONE HATES” videos (one of which featured another entrant on this list).
The channel really took off a year later with its “How to be…” series, which took a humourous look a stereotypes, from hockey players to filmmakers and college students.
Total views: 37 million
Nadine Sykora started her channel Hey Nadine back in 2006 as a vlog on her daily life (her first video is appropriately titled “omg it’s a vlog”), but it has since transformed into one of the top travel vlogs on YouTube.
A self-described expert on travel advice and wanderlust adventures, Sykora has visited more than 48 countries, all recorded on video, and shared her experiences with her subscribers.
Total views: 34 million
As the legend goes Ryan Cheng started his YouTube channel in 2010 after being convinced by his younger cousins to give the site a look. Like many YouTubers before him he went with a persona, that of the “Asian gangster,” before moving on to videos featuring public pranks and stunts inspired by superheroes and celebrities.
Recently he has moved more toward vlogging, and his second channel (appropriately titled Chengman Vlogs) is more focused on his life and workout routine as he trains to become a competitive track and field athlete. Either way, his videos offer up some great inspiration, with tons of absurdity and humour.
Total views: 6 million
While there may be more popular YouTubers, few have more visually stunning videos than Bradley Friesen. With two decades of helicopter piloting experience and a camera in hand, Friesen has traveled all over British Columbia and captured some of the best scenery this land has to offer.
Though his channel is only barely two years old, Friesen has made waves with some outrageous videography work and dangerous stunts, such as literally flying his helicopter through a hockey game on an epic outdoor frozen lake.
Which other YouTube stars do you follow? Please let us know in the comments!