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Hollywood North…West? Is Hamilton the Next Toronto?

Hamilton is already the second busiest spot for filming in Ontario with over 800 permits issued in 2018.

June alone saw 12 popular TV series set up base in Toronto to work on their next season.
June alone saw 12 popular TV series set up base in Toronto to work on their next season.

For years, Toronto has long been the major Canadian destination for film and TV productions. Not only does the city host multiple studios in its downtown core, but the unique architecture often doubles for NYC streets and other US locations. The strength of major foreign currencies against the Canadian dollar in recent years has also fueled industry growth. On any given day, multiple productions can be found on the city’s streets, especially as the summer heat finally warms the capital. June alone saw 12 popular TV series set up base in Toronto to work on their next season. The industry is a huge boost for the city, which sees millions in revenue every year as well as job opportunities for thousands.

With such success, it’s no wonder neighbouring areas are eager to get into the game. One such region? Hamilton. Located about an hour southwest of Toronto, the port city is better known as Steel Town for its long history of manufacturing. Though the industry is past its heyday, its presence is still strong. Even so, more investment in the film industry would be a welcome move for the city’s growing population.

In fact, Hamilton is already the second busiest spot for filming in Ontario with over 800 permits issued in 2018. However, a new group wants to supercharge the industry by building a production-focused complex with modern facilities for moviemaking and living. In addition to this, Mayor Fred Eisenberger touts the capabilities of local colleges and universities to train for in-demand skills.

Industry professionals already have a soft spot for the city due to its close proximity to major highways and transit, along with the reduced traffic on the city streets compared to its more congested neighbour. So is Hamilton poised to take over the Canadian entertainment world? Not quite yet. Many high-profile productions share filming locations with nearby Toronto who is better equipped to handle large-scale projects. The construction of a new district will certainly pull in more business but timelines are vague about the completion date, with the parties involved only saying it could be between 5-20 years.

Still, as filmmaking continues to grow in Canada any increased investment is welcome news for productions looking for suitable infrastructure. Though many automatically think of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver for Canuck hotspots, smaller cities are sure to make their own mark in the coming years.