Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds set to build a massive film studio in the Toronto area

A new film studio with backing from Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and his production company, Maximum Effort, appears poised to be an economic boon for Markham. The city has been establishing itself as a hotbed for Hollywood productions over the past decade. 

Construction on the 1.2 million–square-foot studio at 14th Avenue and McDowell Gate is slated to begin in the near future, although a completion date has not been set, according to Variety, which first broke news of the plans. Part of the project’s ownership group, Maximum Effort — which Reynolds co-founded with George Dewey — has joined forces with Markham-based developer the Watford Group on the project. The latter has been courting investors, with half of the required funding already committed. 

“Maximum Effort has grown in ways and directions that we’ve never imagined,” Reynolds said in a statement, as per Variety. “To be launching a fund and building a 1.2 million–square-foot studio facility in Ontario is both mind-boggling and humbling. Regardless, I’m excited to expand our storytelling capabilities in new directions and to bring more production work to Ontario.”

Local councillor Isa Lee, who represents Ward 8, voiced support for the studio.

“A film studio would be a great addition for the community and the city. Markham drives technology, innovation and talent,” said Lee in an email. “Many homegrown talents have found success within the film industry. I believe this project will put Markham on the map when it comes to entertainment.” 

According to the City of Markham, a development application has not been submitted: “The City of Markham has not received a development application for a film studio. However, the City continues to focus on attracting film, TV and digital media investment,” a spokesperson for the city said in an email. 

When the facility opens its doors, it will operate as a fully integrated production studio for everything from reality TV and drama series to live action and animated feature films. It could lead to some major productions, as Maximum Effort is partway through a three-year First-Look Film Deal with Paramount.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO