Toronto is living up to its reputation as ‘Hollywood North’ more than ever before.
Last year was the busiest year on record for the city’s film and television industry.
In 2015, a total of $1.5 billion was spent on productions in Toronto, topping the previous high, in 2014, by 26 per cent. Last year also saw a new record for the number of location filming shoot days, with 6,680 in 2015. This year’s figures show no sign of slowing down either. It seems that film crews are a daily sight on the city streets.
Mayor John Tory said that Los Angeles-based studios have planned more than $800 million in productions for Toronto this year. This, of course, is in addition to many domestic productions as well.
“It is great to go to a meeting where I ask everybody ‘How is it going?’ and everybody just says ‘fantastic’,” Tory said during an appearance at Cinespace Studio yesterday. “We now have had five consecutive years of more than $1 billion in productions in this city and that is a big deal.”
Despite this, Tory says that there is a “capacity to do more.” He promised to work to facilitate the growth of the industry, and said that municipal leaders must do everything they can to support this. He said he would personally advocate for more government tax credits and financial incentives so we can attract more productions in Toronto.
“We are going to start by identifying possible city-owned assets in terms of buildings and land that might be contributed to this cause in one way or another,” he said. “We are then going to try to deal with the parking issue better because that is a challenge that I know many of you face when you are doing productions. We are going to look to identify off-street parking, maybe on city land.”
As part of his plan to grow Toronto’s TV and film industry, Tory unveiled a four-point plan that was prepared by staff after a three-day trade mission to Los Angeles in February. The plan includes identifying city-owned land that could be used as studio facilities, and launching a community engagement plan for studios in neighbourhoods. It also involves creating more jobs with specialized film crew training, and the creation of a cross-divisional working group to provide consistent support to the film and television industry
Toronto’s film and television industry currently employs about 30,000 people in the city.