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Ryan Reynolds to build 'massive' production studio in Ontario, government says

Actor Ryan Reynolds attends a premiere at The Shed at Hudson Yards on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in New York. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Invision-Charles Sykes Actor Ryan Reynolds attends a premiere at The Shed at Hudson Yards on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in New York. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Invision-Charles Sykes
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Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds is set to build a new production studio in Markham, Ont., the government said.

The province’s minister of tourism, culture and sport said the investment highlights the confidence in Ontario’s film industry.

“There is a very large—might I say ‘massive’—production studio being built, 1.2 million square feet, in Markham, Ontario. It’s being done by a gentleman who grew up in Canada and who is a star in the film industry: Ryan Reynolds,” Neil Lumsden said at Question Period.

“Let me tell you: 2022 was the best year ever. Hard to believe, but that goes to show you what a great industry it is. It is thriving… I don’t like to say numbers but I will say it’s over $3 billion back into the economy. That’s 46,000 jobs.”

Little is known about the rumoured Markham, Ont. studio. Media reports indicate that Canadian development firm Watford Group is helping raise the capital.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to both Watford and Reynolds’ company Maximum Effort, but has yet to hear back.

The development was first reported in Variety, with the Deadpool actor saying in a statement that building a studio in Ontario is “both mind-boggling and humbling.”

“I’m excited to expand our storytelling capabilities in new directions and to bring more production work to Ontario.”

Reynolds isn't a stranger to helping Ontario. The actor participates in annual fundraising efforts for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and in February surprised a group of students at Seneca College.

Seneca College confirmed to CTV News Toronto the Vancouver-born star visited its faculty of communication, art and design for a tour of the labs, studios and classrooms.

During the tour, Reynolds stopped in on what appeared to be a journalism class and was caught on camera reading from a prompter with a student.

"I hope I didn’t ruin your entire project," he said after the interaction.

Actor Ryan Reynolds is seen in this video talking in front of a prompter after surprising a group of Toronto college students.

Last week, Ontario Creates—a government agency that facilitates investments in creative industries—said that about $3.15 billion was amassed from film and television production in 2022.The agency called the number "record-breaking."

In total, 419 productions were filmed in Ontario. This includes Amazon Prime’s The Boys and Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, Ontario Creates said in a news release.

The agency said their data does not include commercial production or broadcaster in-house production, which are estimated to have brought in an additional $1.4 billion in 2022.

Of the 419 productions filmed in Ontario, 155 were considered domestic television series. They contributed more than $891 million in expenditures.

“We’re not as reliant on international productions as we used to be,” Lumsden said. “Domestic film and television production was up 25 per cent last year.”

Ontario revamped a series of tax credits for movies, books and animation in 2022.

In its 2023 budget, Ontario extended tax edibility for productions available exclusively online and provided an additional $58 million in supports to the industry. Regulation details outlining that eligibility are open to public comment until April 11.

As a caveat, the government also proposed that productions which benefit from the tax credit provide “on-screen acknowledgement of this support.”

As it stands, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit offers a 25 per cent refundable tax credit on qualifying labour expenditures to corporations producing domestic film and television productions in the province.

The tax credit includes a 10 per cent regional bonus on productions filmed or produced outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

Foreign and domestic film and television productions that meet certain budget thresholds may also qualify for the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit, which offers a 21.5 per cent refundable tax credit on labour and other production expenditures.

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