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Toronto faces studio pressures as filming booms

TorontoToronto in eastern Canada faces pressure to expand its studio facilities after another successful year of location filming in 2016.

Production spending in Ontario as a whole surpassed a billion dollars for the sixth year in a row and contributed CA$1.7bn to the provincial economy overall, according to government figures. 

This month there are 26 projects either filming now in Ontario or in pre-production, including Kiefer Sutherland’s drama Designated Survivor, true-life hostage crisis feature film Stockholm and the new Star Trek series Discovery.

“2016 is the third consecutive record-breaking year in Ontario for film and TV production,” commented Eleanor McMahon, Ontario’s tourism, culture and sport minister. 

“Our government has worked hard to create the right conditions to help our film and TV industry succeed.”

Paul Bronfman is chairman and CEO of film equipment supplier William F White International, and is also chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios. He praised the Ontario government for its support of the production industry, but also called for authorities to provide financial backing for more studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In January the mayor of Toronto led a delegation to Los Angeles partly to address Hollywood concerns about available studio space in the Canadian city.

The issue is not unique to Toronto. Many of the world’s top production hubs – including Vancouver, New York, London and Cape Town – are under pressure to expand their studio facilities. 

In many cases development is already underway but takes time. Vacant industrial buildings are frequently used as adapted filming spaces when studios are unavailable and they can often be cheaper, especially for lengthier TV shoots.

For more on filming in Ontario see our production guide.