“Bursting-at-Seams” Demand for GTA Production Spaces, New Canadian Netflix Office Great News for TFS Students: Andrew Barnsley

The film industry in Toronto has rebounded in a big way in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – and nowhere is that more apparent than in the “bursting-at-the-seams” demand for production spaces in the GTA.


According to a recent article in the Globe & Mail, Hollywood North has responded to this surge with expansion plans that are already well underway:


  • Construction crews recently broke fresh ground at Pinewood Studios, which is set to bolster its current roster of 11 stages with the addition of five more by early 2022


  • Cinespace Film Studios is undergoing major expansion, with an additional 165,000 square feet of production space expected in the near future


  • Industry equipment specialist William F. White International Inc. will open its third production centre in converted warehouses in Mississauga in February – including four studios, as well as offices and wardrobe space


  • And CreateTO, Toronto’s real estate arm, has invited proposals to build studios on an 8.9-acre former industrial site down on Basin Street, which could include an additional 500,000 square feet of creative spaces.


“What the pandemic did was force a pause in production, but we have not altered course on our expansion plans,” Geoff Grant, general manager of Pinewood Toronto Studios, told the Globe & Mail, noting that studio clients aren’t changing their plans either.


“We’re bursting at the seams and turning away viable productions because of the lack of space available.”




Netflix’s recently announced plans to open an office in Canada is also being touted as a “big first step” toward content in this country, according to a recent Canadian Press article.


In it, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos is quoted saying that adding an office in Canada will allow Netflix executives to be closer to Canadian creators, so they can build relationships, field pitches and “keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the creative community in Canada.” 


“We’re not just going to put one person in a little office in one city, in one place in Canada,” Sarandos said during his Canadian Press interview from Montecito, Calif.


“We’re looking to grow our relationship with the creative community in Canada. So that’ll be as open geographically as Canada is.”


According to Toronto Film School’s Emmy-winning Executive Producer in Residence, Andrew Barnsley, all such industry growth is “great news” for Toronto Film School students.


“What this means is that there’s a market demand for trained labour and market demand for creative voices – and whenever there is this kind of demand, you need to have reliable feeders into the workforce,” said Barnsley, who also serves as CEO of Project 10 Productions and was an executive producer on CBC’s Schitt’s Creek.



“I feel Toronto Film School students are positioned very well for future employment, especially considering the education they’re getting and the foundation of knowledge they’re gaining from Toronto Film School programs,” he added, noting that the school offers a full slate of 18-month diploma programs ranging from Film Production,  Writing for Film & Television, and Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre, to Fashion Design and Marketing for Fashion & Entertainment.


Touting a “world-class” local labour force as one of its impetuses, Barnsley said he’s confident the GTA will only continue to grow as a go-to location for productions both domestic and foreign.



“It really feels like this is just the beginning of this good news story. It feels like we’re on track for future, continued growth,” Barnsley said.


“And I think Toronto Film School students should be feeling very confident going into an industry that will value their education and their expertise.”