“Studio City’s expansion in our city is another sign of the strength of the film and television sector in Toronto. We are working non-stop to restart our economy, including the film and television industry, in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The start of construction is a great step forward in that process and will help ensure we are ready to open our doors to projects from around the world," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “Bringing three new sound stages online will increase capacity in the sector, and help protect existing jobs and create new employment opportunities in this vital industry.”
Construction on the new sound stages, expected to be complete in February 2021, will add 70,000 square feet to the existing site, resulting in a total of 150,000 square feet of sound stages, production offices, wardrobe suites, set decoration and props storage, and stage support areas. The new Studio City complex will have six sound stages ranging from 7,000 square feet to 36,000 square feet.
“I’m pleased the City’s efforts to preserve this valuable studio asset are being rewarded by the construction of even more sound stages on the property,” said Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher, who chairs the City’s Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board. “This additional space is desperately needed. Toronto is a preferred production location and our studios are often booked to capacity.”
The three new stages will have minimum clear spans of 100 feet and minimum clear heights of 35 feet. The largest will be a new version of the Jumbo Stage, which was originally located at 75 Commissioners Street and displaced in 2019 to accommodate the Port Lands Flood Protection Project and the realignment of the Don River.
The former industrial building with its 200-foot clear span and over 50-foot clear height was a popular stage for major motion pictures that required large sets. It was used to film Pacific Rim, RoboCop, Jumper, Scott Pilgrim vs the World and – just before it was decommissioned – Shazam!
“The loss of the Jumbo Stage was a real setback for Toronto’s film infrastructure” said Shazam! Unit Production Manager Greg Denny. “It’s a relief to hear that its replacement is under construction.”
The new Jumbo Stage will look very much like its predecessor but will feature better sound insulation, more stage power, multiple loading doors, custom beams for rigging and 80 tons of air conditioning. Most importantly, it will be located on a proper studio lot with production offices, wardrobe and five adjacent sound stages; improving functionality for large feature films. Likewise, the existing studios and production offices will benefit from the additional studios.
“Showline was a great facility” said Studio City principal Chris Nethercoat “but it was always a bit to small to accommodate major feature films. “With the new stages, it will once again be one of the best studio lots in the City.”
The facility, built 30 years ago, was purchased by the City of Toronto in late 2017 in an effort to preserve the site for film use. In the summer of 2018, CreateTO, the City’s real estate agency, selected Studio City Toronto through a competitive RFP process to operate the facility and develop the adjacent land.
About Studio City Toronto
Studio City is a 6.5 ac. film production facility on Lake Shore Boulevard East in the City’s Film District. With the addition of new sound stages now under construction, the 150,000 SF complex will comprise 6 stages, production offices and wardrobe facilities.
The original facility, known as Showline, was built in 1989 by industry veterans Murray Dutchak and Peter Lukas. Their three sound stages were built to the finest standards and are still among the best in the city. The City of Toronto acquired the property in late 2017 to ensure its continued use for film production. In 2018, the City issued an RFP through CreateTO to operate the studio. Studio City Toronto Inc. was selected and entered a long-term lease.
Studio City Toronto Inc. is wholly owned by Studio City Scaffold Ltd. which operates as Studio City Rentals, providing equipment to the film and entertainment sector for over 20 years. With operations in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles, it is Canada’s largest supplier of rigging equipment including truss, motors and scaffolding essential to the building and lighting of film sets. Studio City Rentals has serviced every major production shot in Toronto including the recently released Shazam! and Academy Award winning films Shape of Water, Spotlight and Chicago. Its principals, Chris Nethercoat and Mike Kirilenko were both film technicians before forming the company in 1999. Each has 30+ years experience in film production and were the recipient of an Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement in 2016.
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For more information, please contact:
Ken Ferguson, Studio City Toronto Inc., 416-458-9065, [email protected]