Ontario expects ‘strong’ filming summer as productions ramp up in Toronto

Lights are set up on a film set on a Toronto street on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Lights are set up on a film set on a Toronto street on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

Filming season will soon begin in earnest in Toronto and its surrounding areas with major productions expected to set up in the city.

The industry said it expects a busy summer as streaming services like Netflix lead a boom for the local filming scene.

Justin Cutler, the Ontario film commissioner, told Global News he anticipates between 40 and 50 productions will be operating at the same time across Ontario during July and August.

“I can confirm there is a strong slate of projects preparing for the summer and fall,” he said.

In 2021, the film and television industry generated 48,000-plus full-time jobs, either directly or as spin-offs. The sector was worth almost $2.9 billion in production, according to provincial body Ontario Creates.

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The City of Toronto said in a media release that filming in the city last year was worth $2.5 billion.

A total of 274 projects were filmed in Ontario through 2021, including 115 television series, Ontario Creates said.

“The major players are coming here, the big streamers are establishing boots on the ground and the momentum looks to be huge for at least the next five years,” Victoria Ahearn, the editor of Playback, a Canadian film industry magazine, told Global News.

Last year, Netflix announced it would open its Canadian headquarters in Toronto.

“Less than three months into 2022, Toronto’s studios are projected to be at capacity again this year,” the city said.

Production is expected to hit record levels in 2022, the city said.

“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,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement in March. “I look forward to seeing what 2022 has in store!”

A production list maintained by Ontario Creates includes 27 productions that are already confirmed.

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The list includes a pilot for Gotham Knights and the fourth season of Titans, both superhero television shows based on DC Comics.

Cutler said more shows will be added to the list when details are finalized.

The explosion of productions will put pressure on local talent markets, Ahearn said.

“The biggest issue, I think, is the crew crunch,” she said. “The city is working on workforce development programs to ensure that there are enough crew members to accommodate this production boom.”

The second season of horror show Chucky will begin shooting in Toronto in late April, while Netflix show Sex/Life has already started filming scenes.

See, The Queen’s Gambit and Jack Reacher are among the hit shows to be filmed in the city.

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