Dufferin Gate Studios has recently acquired the former Strategem Studios complex in east Toronto as part of its strategic move to cater to major studios and streamers looking for original content production following the Hollywood strikes. The studio, located at 1510 Birchmount Road in Scarborough, boasts two enormous 60 feet clear span stages along with six more, and has already served as the shooting location for Marvel’s “Hawkeye” and Paramount+’s “Mayor of Kingstown.”
The Stratagem Group, under the leadership of film financier Michael Cerenzie, has made way for Dufferin Gate Studios, which has signed a memorandum of understanding to become the exclusive film and TV operators for the facility. This move positions Dufferin Gate to attract foreign productions from major studios and streamers that choose Toronto as their shooting destination.
Although the stages at 1510 Birchmount currently sit empty due to the ongoing Hollywood strikes involving actors and writers, Dufferin Gate has noticed an increase in inquiries, suggesting a potentially positive shift in sentiment regarding the strikes’ duration, according to Noel Phillips, the general manager of Dufferin Gate, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Dufferin Gate Studios has already been operating a neighboring studio at 1550 Birchmount Road since 2022. This studio has successfully accommodated Hallmark’s “The Way Home” series, which has completed two seasons using the twin stages. The two facilities together, now known as the Birchmount Studio Hub, provide a total of 240,000 square feet of production space across eight clear span soundstages, along with additional office and support facilities.
Dufferin Gate Studios currently operates in six studios across Toronto, offering soundstages and production spaces for various projects including feature films, TV series, commercials, and music videos. Back in the 1990s, the company was a prominent producer of TV movies for U.S. cable channels such as Showtime Networks. As Hollywood producers increasingly chose Toronto as their shooting location for exclusive original content, Dufferin Gate expanded its network of studios throughout the city.
Prior to the Hollywood strikes, studios in Ontario were in high demand as streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Apple, and AMC Networks competed for stage space to meet the growing subscriber demand for original content. However, the labor actions taken by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have cast uncertainty over the future demand for post-strike projects to be shot in Canada.
The timing of these strikes has coincided with major streaming platforms becoming more selective and cost-conscious in their pursuit of original content. They are now focusing on profitability, as the streaming industry has become fiercely competitive. With this backdrop, Dufferin Gate Studios’ strategic expansion positions them to cater to the evolving needs of major studios and streamers, providing them with the necessary production facilities and creative resources as the industry navigates through these challenging times.
Overall, Dufferin Gate Studios’ acquisition of the former Strategem Studios complex is a bold move that demonstrates their confidence in the resurgence of major studios and streamers’ appetite for original content production. As Toronto continues to attract international productions, Dufferin Gate is well-positioned to serve as a vital resource for both local and foreign productions, with its extensive production space, top-notch facilities, and experienced team.