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Lights, Camera, Investments: Toronto’s Thriving Role as Hollywood North

Date:
February 20, 2024
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The City of Toronto is making headlines in the entertainment industry once again, marking another significant step towards solidifying its reputation as Hollywood North.

In a groundbreaking announcement last month, it was revealed that Amazon MGM Studios will assume the exclusive lease for Pinewood Toronto Studios situated in the heart of the city.

This multi-year commitment grants Amazon MGM Studios control over five expansive sound stages, accompanying workshops, and office spaces, totaling an impressive 160,000 square feet.(1)  The studio responsible for producing popular shows for the Amazon Prime streaming service is making a long-term commitment to develop its presence in Toronto further.

Ontario Premier, Doug Ford expressed his enthusiasm stating, “Amazon MGM’s long-term commitment to new studio space in Toronto is a tremendous vote of confidence in our province and our workers.” Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow added to this sentiment, emphasizing that the city’s film and television industry “continues to thrive” with this significant partnership.

Paul Golding, Pinewood Group’s chairman, emphasized the importance of the landmark agreement, saying, “This landmark agreement further strengthens our relationship with Amazon MGM Studios and demonstrates our joint commitment to the City of Toronto. We are very much looking forward to working together and welcoming many incredible productions to the Pinewood Toronto Studio lot.”

In 2024, this continues to be the case, with Toronto rising to the #1 spot as the premier destination for filmmakers, as recognized by MovieMaker magazine’s annual ranking of the best places to live and work in the industry.(2) While acknowledging the legacy of Los Angeles and New York City, the magazine emphasizes the appeal of starting in a “livable, affordable community with enough film, TV, or commercial jobs.” Toronto’s recognition as the premier filmmaker destination is attributed to its extraordinary talent pool, world-class soundstages, and the industry’s innovative achievements. The city’s film commissioner, Marguerite Pigott, expressed gratitude for the acknowledgment, celebrating the creative community’s dedication and investment in Toronto’s growth. Beyond hosting the renowned Toronto International Film Festival, the city regularly appears on TV screens with productions like The Boys, Reacher, Star Trek, and Umbrella Academy, making use of its vast studio space. Toronto’s reputation as a thriving film and TV capital, with a workforce of 35,000 industry employees, a strong union presence, efficient turnaround times, and supportive local programs, firmly establishes it as a premier destination for filmmakers.

Echoing the influx of notable developments, it was announced last year that Canadian actor, Ryan Reynolds is set to make a significant investment in Ontario’s film industry by building a massive 1.2 million square feet production studio in Markham, making it the largest film and TV production hub in Canada.(3) The province’s minister of tourism, culture, and sport expressed confidence in Ontario’s thriving film sector, citing the creation of 46,000 jobs in 2022 alone(3). The move aligns with Ontario’s efforts to boost its creative industries, as evidenced by record-breaking figures of $3.15 billion from film and television production in 2022(3). Ontario’s revamped tax credits for the industry and continued support signal a commitment to sustaining the sector’s growth.

As proud Canadians and active real estate investors and city builders, we are keenly focused on Canada’s growth and economic prosperity and exploring its reputation as a global leader across a variety of sectors. In 2022, Greybrook, in partnership with Toronto Life and Canadian Business, hosted a thought leadership panel on Canada’s emergence as a global leader in the film and television industry. The panel spoke about what has been fueling Canada’s unprecedented growth and how the local Film and Television industry has evolved into a well-established ecosystem underpinning our economy.

As the GTA’s film and television landscape continues to evolve and grow, these major investments signify a boost for the local economy and cement Toronto’s position as a global hub for the entertainment industry. With world-class facilities, a thriving talent pool, and a commitment to pushing creative boundaries, Toronto stands out as a strategic and lucrative choice, poised for continued success and influence in the years ahead.

 

1 – Amazon Canada

2 – CTV News Toronto

3 – CTV News Toronto

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