Toronto Festival Tower and tiff Bell Lightbox | 156.96m | 42s | Daniels | KPMB



From CBC News:

Ottawa reaffirms pledge to fund Toronto film centre
Last Updated Thu, 25 May 2006 12:57:13 EDT
CBC Arts

Stephen Harper's Tories have reaffirmed a commitment of $25 million to build a new home for the Toronto International Film Festival Group in downtown Toronto, after reviewing the pledge by the previous Liberal government.

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and Heritage Minister Bev Oda confirmed the funding for Festival Centre on Thursday.

"The cultural sector is one of the economic drivers of our cities and communities," Flaherty said in a statement.

"I am proud to deliver a firm commitment to fund Festival Centre and make important progress on this project, which will bring huge economic benefits to the Greater Toronto Area and strengthen the Canadian film industry in the global marketplace," he said.

Liza Frulla, who was heritage minister under the previous Liberal government, pledged $25 million for the project in April 2005.

After the Conservatives led by Harper won the parliamentary election in January, they demanded a review of the business case before agreeing to honour the pledge.

'Can now forge ahead': TIFFG

The announcement clears the way for work to begin on five-storey centre in Toronto's entertainment district.

"With the solidification of these funds, Festival Centre can now forge ahead," said Piers Handling, TIFFG's director and chief executive.

Designed by Toronto architectural firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, the complex is scheduled to open in 2009.

$196M building to include 5 theatres

The building will have five theatres, a film reference library, a gallery, exhibition space and an education centre.

It also includes Festival Tower, a condominium project.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $196 million and $132 million has been raised to date, according to the TIFF Group.

The group runs:

* The Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world's top film festivals.
* Canada's Top Ten (the festival's list of the top 10 Canadian films of the year).
* Cinematheque Ontario.
* Film Circuit.
* The Film Reference Library.
* Reel Talk.
* The Sprockets International Film Festival for children.

Pumps more than $67M into economy

A 2002 survey estimated TIFF Group activities generated more than $67 million in total economic impact annually.

The Festival Centre is expected to help multiply the group's impact on the economy in and around Toronto.

The federal money will come from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

Several other Toronto arts groups that are building or renovating their performance spaces — including the Canadian Opera Company and Soulpepper Theatre — have approached Ottawa about a top-up for their building funds.



Great News, finally something will be done to the largest parking lot I can think of in the core.


when they say 'can now forge ahead' - from what stage are they talking about?

has this design received all the approvals neccessary from city council? and I would imagine they're going to start construction sooner, rather than wait for the rest of the 196 mil.

fantastic news though. the entertainment district might actually turn into such a thing after, theatre, opera, and symphony all within a few short blocks...

edit: and by film, I mean both the new centre showing cinemateque films, and of course the lovely paramount up the road showing...stuff.

building babel

KPMB are doing working drawings, which they wouldn't do unless funding and approval were in place.


Now if only they could find a decent programmer for Talk Cinema, er, Reel Talk.


This is good news and the Tories can keep trying to buy my vote for all I care. Another 2 or 3 billion towards the city may just convince me to vote for them (may!).

What would even be more encouraging would be to hear that they actually will start construction soon (as the article and the TIFF really say nothing about when any shovels will actually go into the ground).


Great news, this and Harbourfront were given money from the tories this week, however they don't got my vote yet. If the tories allow the expo bid, they got it :)


I'm pleased for the TIFF and Harbourfront funding. I would vote for the conservatives if and when they passed a special tax on all resource extraction industries operating within the province of Alberta to fund Toronto subway expansion. Then, they'll have my vote.

Sir Novelty Fashion

Mine will require a chocolate eclair, hand-delivered to my door by John Baird. Then we'll talk.


Another Conservative Recycled Bullshit.

They didn't need to do a bloody review, same with Harbourfront money which by the way amounts to less than an extra $1 million a year, not the $25 million blockbuster they got the media to announce.

This government hasn't delieved any new funds to Toronto to date.



This government hasn't delieved any new funds to Toronto to date.
so true...

Now you see $25M, now you see it again
May 26, 2006. 01:00 AM

Stop the press. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Heritage Minister Bev Oda announced yesterday that Ottawa is giving $25 million to help build Festival Centre, the future dream home of the Toronto International Film Festival, on a parking lot at King and John Sts.

But hold on. Haven't we heard this song before? On April 26, 2005, the previous federal government announced — with much hoopla inside a tent on that parking lot — that it was giving $25 million to this project.

On that occasion, Liberal cabinet ministers Joe Volpe and John Godfrey shared the limelight with Liza Frulla.

How many times can we have announcements of the same $25 million? The difference: now a new set of cabinet ministers is taking credit.

"This government recognizes the importance of the arts community to Canadian society and our quality of life," Oda says. And Flaherty chimes in: "I am proud to deliver a firm commitment to fund Festival Centre."

So was last year's Liberal commitment less than firm? It didn't sound like it at the time, but speaking by phone from Cannes yesterday, festival CEO Piers Handling explained that the Liberals had made a "priority announcement," which is a notch lower on the done-deal ladder than an "official announcement."

And now the new government has given its blessing to TIFF's business plan.

"Due diligence is not done overnight," says Handling.

Only now, it seems, is Ottawa's commitment firm enough to forge ahead.

So what now? When will the shovel go into the ground? The festival's original plan (three years ago) to open in 2006 is clearly out of the question. A more likely date now seems to be 2009.

The new centre, which will give TIFF a year-round presence, will have five screening rooms, an exhibition gallery and film reference library.

According to Handling, the next step is for the TIFF board to waive contractual conditions with its development partners — the Daniels Group and Hollywood producer Ivan Reitman (whose family owns the parking lot) — and give final approval to the design plans, preliminary budget and bank financing.

All that is expected to happen at a June 20 meeting. Then it's over to King and John Festival Centre (formed by Daniels and Reitman) to test the condo market.

Festival Centre — a five-storey, $122-million podium designed by Toronto architect Bruce Kuwabara — is joined at the hip to a 41-storey condo tower, which has been promoted with the slogan "Get the star treatment now."

Those who buy apartments in this complex will get the benefit of daily screenings, exhibits and lectures, as well as screenings with celebrity guests.

Clearly construction will not begin this spring, as the festival promised a year ago. Now Handling is hoping it can start before the end of this year.

Despite firm commitments from two governments — starting with Queen's Park in March 2005 — a prodigious amount of fundraising remains.

So far the festival claims it has raised $132 million of its target $196 million, which includes a chunk of endowment and operating funds. Of that, $50 million comes from the two governments and about $30 million from a multi-year sponsorship deal with Bell. Other major backers are Visa ($3.8 million) and NBC/Universal ($1.5 million).

The festival is vague about the $41 million it claims to have raised from other private sources. It declines to reveal how much of that is from its condo partner, but that number should be in the $10 million to $20 million range.

Meanwhile Flaherty and Oda have been busy dealing with other cash-hungry Toronto arts organizations. On Tuesday they headlined a news conference at Harbourfront Centre to announce a $25-million deal to fund the waterfront complex for the next five years.

Naturally Harbourfront CEO William Boyle and everyone else said how thrilled and grateful they were. But the real news would have been if Ottawa had said no to Harbourfront. Since its inception, it has been a federal responsibility. And the previous funding deal, under which the Liberals were providing $4 million a year, has run out.

So without this week's announcement, Harbourfront would have had to shut down. That was clearly not an option.

Later the same day, Flaherty and Oda had a meeting with the Gang of Six: cultural groups in the midst of expensive building projects such as opera houses, museums, and music or ballet schools.

Their projects received initial funding four years ago totalling $230 million: half from Ottawa, half from Queen's Park. But after raising a staggering $500 million in private money, they've requested $49 million in top-up funding (to cover unpredictable extra costs) from each of the two governments.

Ontario has already said yes. But the new federal government has been in no hurry to sign on for the extra funding.

According to Florence Minz, chair of the Royal Conservatory of Music board of directors, the meeting was very positive, but no commitment was made.

"You don't have to explain to Flaherty and Oda the importance of these buildings," says Minz. "They totally get it. And they asked a lot of good questions. They are concerned with how well these projects are managed, and they're very impressed with the amount of private money that has been raised."

It's not as if $49 million is a lot of money by the finance minister's standards. So what's the problem? If they say yes to six arts projects in Toronto, they're afraid they'll get an avalanche of requests from other arts groups all over Canada.

It's a puzzlement, to borrow a line from the late Yul Brynner in The King and I.