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Toronto’s film industry sets new record

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TORONTO, March 25, 2022 – Today, Mayor John Tory announced that Toronto reached historic investments with more than $2.5 billion in direct spending in film, television and digital media productions in 2021. After a record-breaking year in 2021, Toronto’s screen production industry is set to experience rapid growth and momentum again in 2022.

In 2021, the city saw 1,468 productions and 7,800 production days in Toronto. Less than three months into 2022, Toronto’s studios are projected to be at capacity again this year. In the past 15 months, the city has seen multiple new, modern production facilities open, with more expected to open up over the next few years, which will create thousands of new jobs for Toronto residents.

Strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols created and adhered to by screen industry companies, productions and individuals allowed the sector to continue working throughout a full pandemic year.

Elisabeth Moss stars in the highly acclaimed Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. Now filming its fifth season, The Handmaid’s Tale based on the 1985 novel by iconic Canadian author, Margaret Atwood continues to be extensively filmed in and around Toronto.

“Toronto’s film industry and its talent are key contributors to the enormous increases happening in global production volumes. Our city is bursting with many diverse and talented artists, animators, actors, crew, and other creatives who are already working and studying here and making Toronto more desirable for screen production leaders.”– Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), Chair of the Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board

Other major Toronto screen production industry highlights from 2021 include:

  • Toronto’s studio infrastructure is tech-forward and expanding fast. New physical production facilities and post-production, visual effects (VFX) and animation studios opened their doors last year, allowing for this increase in investments.
  • The City welcomed Netflix’s first Canadian office to Toronto in 2021. Netflix has been an important contributor to the development of Toronto’s screen production infrastructure and workforce. They join the vibrant domestic production industry and other international leaders, such as Amazon Studios, in establishing Toronto as the base for Canadian storytelling for a global audience.
  • The City commissioned and published the Toronto Screen Industry Workforce Study to benchmark workforce needs for the years ahead, to appropriately identify labour gaps and training opportunities.
  • Alongside the growth in infrastructure, the screen industry workforce of more than 35,000 people is growing accordingly. 2021 was a milestone year for industry workforce development, as the City’s xoTO Screen Industry Pathways scaled its initiatives to educate Torontonians about careers in film, as well as to train and fast-track new participants into in-demand jobs with industry partners and community groups, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. More information about careers in Toronto’s screen industry is available on the City’s website.
  • The City’s Film Office is working with industry stakeholders to ensure the continued growth of the industry, offer career opportunities for Torontonians and positively manage the industry’s footprint in all city neighborhoods.
  • The City committed its first investment in the creation of power drops, to give access to grid power for large productions at highly utilized filming locations and reduce the need for diesel generators in Toronto. Just two power drops will reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by 400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per year, which contributes to the City’s TransformTO Net Zero climate strategy goals.
  • The City’s Film Office is a member of Ontario Green Screen, an initiative between government, industry, unions, guilds and trade associations that empowers productions and studios to make sustainable choices.
  • Toronto experienced growth in all categories: major productions (feature films, television series, music videos, reality tv), VFX and animation and commercials.
  • Key productions include Nightmare Alley, See, Star Trek Discovery, Reacher, Slumberland, Titans, Cabinet of Curiosities, Locke & Key, Pretty Hard Cases, Chucky.
  • Key post-production, VFX and animation-only projects include: Murder at Yellowstone City, Astrid & Lilly Save the World, Troll Hunters: Rise of the Titan, Paw Patrol, Master of the Universe, Uncharted, Escape Room 2, Home Before Dark, Midnight Mass, Raising Dion SII, Run and Gun, and Turner & Hooch.

In response to the industry’s growth, the City’s Film Office is enhancing customer service by hiring additional film permit coordinators and sector development staff to innovate and expand services. New film permitting fees are being introduced this year to help support the Film Office and its workforce development and sustainability initiatives.

Shazam films in and around Toronto
The major motion picture, Shazam! was filmed and around Toronto although the movie is set in Philadelphia.

Toronto was also recently recognized as a top place to live and work in the film industry, according to MovieMaker magazine. Ranked number two on MovieMaker’s list of the “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2022,” Toronto moved up 10 spots on the list since last year – a leap that is more than double that of its closest competitor.

“I am proud that Toronto’s screen production industry is already one of the largest in North America and is experiencing historic momentum and expansion. More than $2.5 billion in direct spending is a huge achievement and a testament to the strength of this sector.,” said Mayor John Tory. “We have seen expansive growth and jobs over the past few years, and along with the continued investments we have made in the infrastructure and workforce I am confident that the growth will continue for years ahead. The many studios here in Toronto remained at capacity throughout a full pandemic year and they are projected to be at capacity again this year, which means the local film and TV sector will play a major role in our pandemic recovery,” said Tory.

Mayor Tory also emphasized that Toronto has a world-class screen production industry. “I want to thank all of our partners for helping us create a world-class industry that continues to garner the interest of global players and companies. I look forward to seeing what 2022 has in store!”

Visit the City’s website for more information about Toronto’s 2021 screen-based production statistics .

Learn more about the screen production industry in Toronto, including planned productions through this spring and summer at http://www.toronto.ca/film.

SOURCE City of Toronto

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