Canada is poised for a massive boost to its production capacity with four major studios having been announced in less than three months.

Two of the new projects are in Toronto, one in Quebec and one in Regina, in the province of Saskatchewan, with the backers of the Toronto and Quebec projects claiming their facility will be among the world's largest.

The latest project, announced Friday (April 6) in Toronto by Ontario premier Mike Harris, will see Studios of America lease part of a Toronto power house and refit it for film production, including a massive 80,000 sq. ft. soundstage. Harris said the project would complement the other proposed Toronto studio complex announced in February, which plans to build a few kilometres away.

The 1.2 million sq. ft., $93m project is backed by HOK Architects, the world's largest architectural firm, and Sequence Development in conjunction with Toronto-based Shoot City. The UK's Pinewood Shepperton Studios and its partners including Ridley Scott and Tony Scott will be involved as consultants. HOK plans to break ground by March 2003, pending land-use permits.

Harris also announced plans to streamline the tax credit process so that foreign and local producers receiving the provincial tax credits will receive their rebates as early as six weeks after filing a tax return. Productions currently wait up to two years for rebates.

The Quebec project involves the conversion of a 1.2 million sq. ft automobile plant north of Montreal into Studio Bromont, the largest film production studio in the world. The project's backers include the provincial agency Investissement Quebec. The proposed facility will include several soundstages totalling 250,000 sq. ft. The two main stages, each 40,000 sq. ft, with ceilings 58 feet high, will be complemented by two 60,000 cubic foot water tanks and 100,000 sq. ft of office space featuring a high-speed fibre optic communications system. The site also features a landing strip, a 1.5km double lane car test track and a cafeteria able to serve 1,500 meals a day. The facility is a 45-minute drive from Montreal.

The new Regina studio, which officially opened March 29, features four soundstages with more than 30,000 sq. ft.