Mayor John Tory to lead first in-person Toronto film industry mission to Los Angeles since 2019

Mayor John Tory will lead a film mission to Los Angeles next week to help deepen relationships with established studios producing in Toronto, and those that have not yet brought productions to the city.

This is the first in-person mission to Los Angeles since 2019. Mayor Tory made the announcement alongside Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), and Councillors Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth) and James Pasternak (York Centre).

Plans for the mission were announced in Downsview, on the future site of a major new film and television production hub being built by Hackman Capital Partners and operated by Manhattan Beach Studios. The studio complex will anchor a much larger innovation-themed district featuring high-tech, creative industries, housing, parks and vibrant public spaces, which are being master-planned by Northcrest Developments.

The Mayor’s Mission to Los Angeles is a collaborative public- and private-sector initiative, with support from all sectors of Toronto’s industry, including studio owners, unions, post-production companies, equipment suppliers, financiers, hoteliers and educators.

The more than 50 delegates travelling on the mission will carry one shared message in support of Toronto as a top production destination of choice. During the last Mayor’s Mission in 2019, the Mayor and delegates sought the views of existing and prospective film industry clients on how Toronto can be an even more competitive home for their productions. The upcoming Mission will report back on how the City of Toronto has responded to their feedback.

Beyond sharing the Toronto story, the Mission will report on the progress made addressing some industry concerns including:

Increasing studio space: Between now and 2026, studio space in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) will grow from 3.7 million square feet to 6.2 million square feet – an increase of 68 per cent.

Growing the workforce and prioritizing diversity: Informed by The Toronto Screen Industry Workforce Study, the City has been working with union and industry partners, along with community groups, to co-design and offer innovative programs for practical and durable pathways into the industry, with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Prioritizing green production infrastructure: The City will soon begin the installation of  power-drops, strategically installed in areas frequently used for base camps, with the potential to save 400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The City is also part of Ontario Green Screen, launched by the Ontario Film Commission.

Tax Credit Stability: Credits for filming have remained stable, and they are a critical asset in maintaining Toronto’s competitiveness.

As a further, critical support to the industry, the City has earmarked almost 10 acres of City-owned waterfront land for a studio build. Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group were the winning bidders.

The Mayor’s Mission to Los Angeles is sponsored by 1 Hotel, ACTRA-Toronto, Bank of Montreal, BDP Quadrangle, Cinespace Film Studios, Company3, DGC-Ontario, Dufferin Gate Studios, Eastside Studios, Entertainment Partners Canada, FilmOntario, IATSE Local 411, IATSE Local 873, MBSE-Canada, Media One Creative, NABET 700-M UNIFOR, National Bank of Canada, Nieuport Aviation, Northcrest Developments, Ontario Creates, Panavision, Pinewood Toronto Studios, RBC, Rocket Science VFX, Sheridan SIRT, SPINVFX, Starline Trailers, The Stratagem Studios, Studio 550, William F. White International Inc., Wiseacre Inc. and York University.

Toronto has had two consecutive years of record-breaking production volume, with 2020 and 2021 totalling almost $5 billion. Toronto has one of the largest screen-based industries in North America, employing more than 35,000 people. More information about the screen production industry in Toronto, including planned productions through this spring and summer, is available here

Quotes:

“This mission is about securing investment and jobs in Toronto. Our city’s film and TV sector is thriving and growing at an expansive rate, and while we have many productions and numbers to be proud of, I am always looking for more investments in our city. This is particularly important as we move ahead in our reopening efforts. We have a great story to tell here in Toronto backed by a remarkable group of talented partners including unions, developers and much more who all share the same goal of building up the sector further. We have worked to make progress to help increase industry investments here including expanding studio space, growing our diverse talent pool, focusing on green production infrastructure and tax credit stability. I look forward to working with all of our partners to continue to grow the screen industry in Toronto.”

– Mayor John Tory

“Our film, television and digital industry is an important economic driver for Toronto. Projects from Los Angeles combined with local production to employ more than 35,000 local workers and register a record-breaking production volume of $2.5 billion in 2021. We are confident that this business mission to LA will continue to add fuel to the unprecedented growth of our screen industry.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“With 2021 being another record year for the Toronto screen industry, I’m looking forward to our L.A. business mission and the opportunity to help the industry continue to flourish in Toronto.”

– Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), Chair of the Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board

“During the 2019 L.A. mission, clients asked for expanded studio space in Toronto, which we delivered on. The continued growth of Toronto’s film industry including studio space even through the pandemic shows the opportunities for further expansion. That’s why I’m delighted that a 10-acre studio build will be coming to York Centre, which Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group are projected to complete and occupy by 2025.”

– Councillor James Pasternak (York Centre)

“York University is proud to join our industry colleagues in taking the message of Toronto as a world class and growing production jurisdiction to our clients in Los Angeles. By bringing together every segment of the industry, and traveling there together with one message, we demonstrate the collective power of our production community in an extraordinary way.”

– Ken Rogers, Director of the York University Motion Media Studio at Cinespace and Academic Director of the MBA Program in Arts Media and Entertainment at The Schulich School of Business

“We are grateful to the Mayor and other stakeholders for their collaborative spirit and strong, ongoing support of the Downsview and Basin Media Hub developments, as we further our deep commitment to Toronto’s film and television production industry. Toronto is already an economic hub for Canada’s creative economy and a leading destination for global content creators. These state-of-the-art studios will significantly increase the city’s capacity for film and television production to meet the industry’s surging demands.”

– Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners

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