Construction has begun onToronto Film Studio's long-delayed mega-studio project. The first phase, to becompleted by 2008, includes a 45,000 square-foot,clear-span "mega-stage" TFS claims will be world's largest purpose-builtsoundstage, as well as six other sound stages.

"Thisstage will attract blockbuster feature films costing $100m or more, like SpidermanIII or Die Hard IV," said TFS president Ken Ferguson in a statement.Such large-scale productions typically by-pass Toronto because it lacks thegiant stages available in Montreal and Vancouver.

FilmPort, as itis to be called, is meant to change that. Ferguson said some of the stages andcarpentry shops will be functional later next year while the entire lot isexpected to expand to 550,000 square feet of stages and support facilities.

TFS was to have brokenground earlier this summer but was delayed by complications in the the landlease negotiations. Ferguson claims TFS hit the deadline established by theToronto Economic Development Corp.

When completed, the entirefacility is expected to generate C$600m in economic impact to the economy ofthe province of Ontario, and support 2,000 jobs in direct production.