Welcome to my blog on culture, design, and housing & home in Toronto!
Do you love the art of film like we do?
Toronto is a draw for many around the world because of its economy, infrastructure, opportunity and overall cool vibe. While Toronto attracts visitors around the globe for any number of cultural and other experiences, for ten days or so every September it is “the” pinpoint on the world map for film.This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5-15, with a variety of venues, excellent films and - of course - the requisite star power that comes with a film festival with so much clout. It's no surprise to learn that Toronto was just ranked one of the "Most Liveable Cities In The World".
Toronto’s role as a major player in the film industry isn’t just limited to the glitter and glamour of TIFF. Toronto is frequently used as a backdrop for filming for numerous movies, commercials, streaming and TV shows. Do some of your favourites have a familiar feel to them? That might be because they’ve been shot in areas that you’ve frequented many times.
A joint project between U of T's Media Commons and Map and Data Library has recently yielded the Toronto Film Map, which is a comprehensive, interactive map that shows movies and TV shows set in the city. Film buffs can click away to check out over 100 production sets throughout Toronto over generations. It’s kind of a cool way to get a sense of how neighbourhoods used to look, all while lending an entirely new dimension to the neighbourhoods you know and love.
The Toronto Film Map was developed to provide a similar experience to other interactive maps that showed where poems and books were set in Toronto. The Toronto Film Map’s creators were inspired in part by the iconic Degrassi series and were moved by the Degrassi Panthers project, where local artist Brian Donnelly researches some of the franchises most notable moments.
There are criteria for getting on the map: only full-length features or shows are included. They have to be set (not just shot) in Toronto. The films or shows have to be attainable to add to the Media Commons lending collection (i.e. no shows that are strictly streaming).
That means that most Hollywood features are excluded from the Film Map, as Toronto usually represents another metro in those films. You’ll see Toronto as Washington, Chicago, New York, Boston, Paris, Tehran, London and Morocco.
Did you know that a large number of Hollywood features and famous shows have been shot (at least partially) in Toronto? In movies and shows like the remake of Total Recall, The Incredible Hulk, Good Will Hunting, Chicago, A Christmas Story, Mean Girls, Cosmopolis, Cocktail, the Handmaid’s Tale, Schitt’s Creek and many more, you’ll see some familiar streetscapes and neighbourhood fixtures.
And finally, the powerful Vought International headquarters is actually Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto's entertainment district. The building's structure was digitally altered and extended to become the Seven Tower:
Pretty neat, eh?! Seeing landmarks like this on screen certainly illicits a strong sense of municipal pride!!
The Toronto Film Map works by using mapping software enhanced by open and licensed datasets accessible through U of T’s Map & Data Library. The creators have done extensive, detailed research to discover these points of interest, confirming addresses and locations for film locations with directors.
The Film Industry Contributes Heavily To Local And Provincial Economies
The film industry is a huge boon to Toronto, culturally and economically. According to the City of Toronto, there are currently 20 separate projects (TV, film and web streaming) being shot in Toronto. In addition to giving the city exposure on a larger scale, there is also a boost to the local economy.
Toronto is among the top five cities in North America to film in, “with a full scope of industry connections, services, suppliers, talent, crew, facilities and locations delivering everything required for success in pre-production through post production”, according to the City of Toronto. A number of generous tax credits can cut “45% on qualified labour costs and up to 35.2% on total production costs”, according to the City, making it not only an alluring city visually for film, but from a profitability standpoint for filmmakers. There is also ample state-of-the-art studio space for post-production.
This article from the Toronto Star talks a little bit about the supply and demand equation with studio space, to quote a famous movie line, the “if you build it, they will come” ideology should keep Toronto’s film industry robust: “Could Toronto’s Film And Television Boom Go Bust?”.
According to the most recent stats from ACTRA, the film industry in Toronto:
- Sees an annual investment of $1B +
- Contributed $1.6B to the Provincial economy in 2017
- Throughout the province, created 32,800 full-time jobs, directly and indirectly from film investment
- Generates millions of dollars of additional spending in Toronto
2018 Stats from the City Of Toronto Economic And Community Development Committee tell a similar tale:
- In 2018, they issued 3287 permits for 1412 projects shot on location across the city over 6322 days of production, which indicates growth.
- 2018 was the second highest year to date, with Toronto productions reaching $1.96B
- Over 1400 projects were made in Toronto during the year.
- Commercial filming grew to $432M I n 201. Investment in this medium in Toronto has doubled in the last five years.
Film in Toronto big business and it only adds to the rich cultural tapestry that is our city!
Part of living life in the real estate trenches is taking in all that the city has to offer- like TIFF.
Are you going?!
Thanks for reading!
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