Blueprint: Studio City
Across Canada, production is riding an all-time high, posting volumes of over $8.3 billion—but a massive uptick in studio-space demand has sometimes meant shortages. Ontario alone has had to turn away as much as $130 million in production activity due to lack of studio space, reports one FilmOntario study. That dollar figure represents over 1,000 jobs. The good news? Film studios across the Greater Toronto Area (and beyond–hello, Ottawa!) are expanding to keep up with demand. By investing further in Toronto’s already stellar infrastructure, these local studios are creating thousands of jobs and will attract millions in production activity every year.
TRIBRO STUDIOS’ DURHAM LIVE
To meet skyrocketing demand in the GTA, TriBro is moving forward with the construction of a new 400,000 sq. ft. facility, with four soundstages and an enormous 61,000 sq. ft. water tank. The studio will be part of a local tourism hub, Durham Live, alongside a casino, amphitheatre, waterpark, cinemas and hotels.
TRIBRO STUDIOS OTTAWA
TriBro Studios is also planning to expand outside of the GTA, and will build a new soundstage campus on the abandoned Greenbelt Research Farm. The campus will include four 20,000 sq. ft. soundstages and is estimated to attract $40 million in production activity every year, creating between 500 and 1,000 jobs.
CBS STAGES CANADA
After producing several series in the GTA, CBS is making a long-term investment in Canada by establishing a 260,000 sq. ft. facility with six soundstages in Mississauga. By mid-year, Toronto-based producers and CMPA members Frank Siracusa of Whizbang Films and John Weber of Take 5 Productions will manage the studio. They’ve produced Star Trek: Discovery, Beauty and the Beast, Reign and American Gothic for CBS in Toronto.
PINEWOOD STUDIO TORONTO
When Toronto’s landmark Pinewood was acquired by Bell Media in 2018, it planned to expand the already 330,000 sq. ft. facility by an additional 200,000 sq. ft. With this expansion, the studio is set to become to the largest production facility in Canada. Some recent Pinewood productions include Star Trek: Discovery, Suicide Squad, It and Orphan Black.
CINESPACE FILM STUDIOS’ MARINE TERMINAL STUDIOS
Cinespace, the largest operator of studio space in North America, already runs three studios in the GTA. To keep up with rising demand, it has relocated its Eastern Avenue studio to the Port Lands. The 165,000 sq. ft. studio will add 45,000 sq. ft. of capacity to the GTA. Cinespace has recently hosted such productions as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Shape of Water.
STUDIO CITY RENTALS: PORT LANDS
When the former Showline Studios in the Port Lands went up for sale, the Toronto City Council quickly intervened to preserve the much-needed studio space. Its new operator, Studio City Rentals, has signed a five-year lease for the 77,000 sq. ft. facility. The site has hosted Hollywood films like X-Men and Spotlight, as well as Canadian series like Kim’s Convenience.
FIRST STUDIO CITY’S MARKHAM MOVIELAND
In partnership with the City of Markham, First Studio City recently unveiled plans for a 400,000 sq. ft. facility called Markham Movieland. The crown jewel is a 70,000 sq. ft. “Super Stage”—the largest of its kind in North America. By 2020, the facility will be able to accommodate one blockbuster film, two major features or seven mid-sized features at the same time.