By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Durham is quickly becoming a hot spot and viable alternative to the province’s capital for the film industry.
In a recent presentation to regional council, Eileen Kennedy, economic development coordinator for the region, said film production activity in Durham jumped 66 per cent between 2012 to 2016.
In that time frame, Kennedy says Durham saw $103 million in production activity generated from 297 projects, and she believes there is great opportunity to build on that momentum.
According to Kennedy, there is a decreasing availability of film locations in Toronto.
With Toronto having six consecutive years of more than $1 billion in production spending, including $2 billion in 2016, it is a huge market for the region to potentially tap into.
Durham Region’s close proximity to Toronto makes it “the perfect place” for film companies to do their business, Kennedy told councillors.
Specific advantages for Durham include hotels offering special rates for employees and convenient access to parking spots for trucks and other equipment.
The increased attraction from the film industry has also created tourism spin-off for the region.
“It has brought a new interest in film tourism. People are looking to visit sites where their favourite films and television shows are shot,” Kennedy says.
To better promote Durham to the film industry, the region’s economic development, planning, corporate services and information technology departments have launched a new online portal.
The portal features film and television shows previously shot in Durham and a listing of potential locations for production companies. Developed in-house by regional staff, it created no additional costs for any department.
Locations that have been utilized in Oshawa include UOIT’s Automotive Centre of Excellence, Parkwood Estates, and Lakeview Park.
Films and television shows that have shot scenes in Durham include Stephen King’s It, Beauty and The Beast, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Heroes Reborn, The West Wing and Murdoch Mysteries.
The portal can be visited at durham.ca/FilmLocations.