Canada’s biggest media firm has bought a controlling stake in the 33.5-acre Pinewood Studios complex, laying the groundwork for more original Canadian content and Hollywood TV series to be produced on its 330,000 square-feet of production space and sound stages through content equity and licensing deals.
The size of the stake and financial terms of the purchase agreement were not disclosed. The media subsidiary of Canadian phone giant BCE is acquiring a 45 percent stake in the mega-studio from pension fund ROI Capital and buying additional shares from the remaining three co-owners – Comweb Studios Holdings, Castlepoint Realty Partners and the City of Toronto – to hold a majority position in the 11-stage facility.
Bell Media has already shot original series like Orphan Black and Killjoys on Pinewood's Toronto stages, which also hosts production for CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery series and earlier saw movies like Molly's Game, Suicide Squad and Guillermo del Toro's monster epic Pacific Rim shot on its stages.
Nanci MacLean, Vice-President and Head of Bell Media Studios, will oversee operations at the facility located near the city’s port lands.
BCE divisional president Randy Lennox said the partnership to purchase the complex “reinforces Bell Media's role as Canada's leading content creation company," adding that “we are excited about the synergies that Pinewood Toronto can offer and the role it will play in generating new revenue streams in an open-shop basis."
Pinewood’s Chair, Paul Bronfman, stated in a news release that "Our Toronto studios are a film and television success story," (and) we look forward to working with Randy (Lennox) and the Bell Media team to produce more high-calibre and innovative programming right here in Toronto. I'm sure that the ongoing sales and marketing support from Pinewood UK will continue to be a significant advantage for our business."
Toronto Mayor John Tory was also enthused by the announcement, making his own statement: "The investment that Bell Media is making in Pinewood Toronto Studios and its expansion is significant and is proof of Bell Media's commitment to our city and its role as a world-class content creator.
"Toronto is home to industry-leading talent in the television and film production industry, and as a city we are committed to supporting the growth of that industry at all levels and aspects of that production."
About Pinewood Toronto Studios
Pinewood Toronto Studios is the largest of its kind in Canada and the facility has been used for a wide range of domestic and international film and TV producers shooting in the city. The 33.5-acre site, is located across the shipping channel from Hearn Generating Station along Commissioners Street. Its eleven stages, including one of North America's largest purpose-built sound stages – the 46,000 sq. ft. (4,274 square metres) Mega Stage – are soundproofed, clear-span and equipped with power and supporting infrastructure to accommodate productions of all sizes and budgets.
Recent credits include: Star Trek: Discovery, Downsizing, Molly's Game, IT, The Expanse (Season 2), Suicide Squad, Spotlight, Crimson Peak and Room.