Last year was the busiest year on record for Toronto’s film and television industry but Mayor John Tory says there is a “capacity to do more” and is promising to work to make the continued growth of the business possible.

In 2015, a total of $1.5 billion was spent on productions in Toronto, topping the previous high-water mark of $1.23 billion (2014) by 26 per cent. There was also a new record for the number of location-filming shoot days with 6,680 in 2015. 

The industry shows no signs of slowing down in 2016, either.

So far Tory said that Los-Angeles based studios have planned more than $800 million in productions for the city this year with a bevy of domestic-based productions expected to add to that total.

“It is great to go to a meeting where I ask everybody ‘How it is going?’ and everybody just says ‘fantastic,’” Tory said during an appearance before industry stakeholders at Cinespace Studio on Thursday. “We now have had five consecutive years of more than $1 billion in productions in this city and that is a big deal.”

The film and television industry currently employs about 30,000 people in Toronto.

Tory, however, said that municipal leaders must do everything they can to support the continued growth of the industry.

“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 efforts to continue to grow the film and television industry, Tory has unveiled a four-point plan that was prepared by staff following a February trade mission to Los Angeles.

The main tenants of that plan are as follows:

  • Finding more space for productions by identifying city-owned land and other assets that could be used as studio facilities
  • Launching a community engagement campaign to foster stronger understanding and goodwill among residents for studio productions operating in their neighbourhoods.
  • Creating more jobs with specialized film crew training by working with union guilds and educational institutions to raise the level of expertise in Toronto’s workforce.
  • Establishing a cross divisional working group to provide consistent and streamlined support to the film and television industry and cut red tape.