Pinewood Toronto Studios opened for business in July 2008. Pinewood (known then as Filmport) is located in Canada’s newest and largest Studio District. Boasting one of North America’s largest purpose-built sound stages, it is the anchor for converging film and entertainment production, creative, technology and knowledge-based jobs in a new Innovation and Creativity Cluster.This landmark studio complex has its roots in the City of Toronto’s overall strategy to strengthen the competitiveness of Toronto’s film industry. As the City’s economic development corporation, Toronto Port Lands Company (TPLC) sponsored research to understand why Toronto was losing big productions to other cities at the time. The research identified the need for purpose-built studio space and larger sound stages in order for Toronto to compete for international large-scale film productions.
In support of the City’s objectives, TPLC organized an international, competitive bid for a private joint venture consortium to develop the new project. TPLC (then operating as TEDCO) owned property in the Port Lands that could accommodate this project. Once the investors were in place TPLC conducted a 30-acre remediation of the lands. The result was the first private sector commercial investment in revitalizing Toronto’s waterfront.
Phase 1 of the $60 million, 260,000 sq ft landmark studio complex included a 45,000 sq ft purpose-built sound stage. The completion of Phase 1 created an anchor and a catalyst for redevelopment in the Port Lands within the new Studio District. Phase 2 of the expansion of Pinewood Toronto Studios began in 2012 with the lease of additional 2.2 acres to build three new sound stages. The next phase of the anticipated future expansion will include additional studios, office space and other ancillary activities.
Pinewood Toronto Studios is a prime example of how TPLC partners with the private sector in order to achieve economic development objectives. The property has been returned to productive use – from being a former underutilized brownfield site. The complex continues to attract jobs, increases revenues to the City, leverages private-sector investment, repurposes former brownfield industrial land to new uses, and realizes the CIty’s economic development objectives within this option to lease arrangement.