The Toronto International Film Festival has plans to construct its own headquarters and cinema.

A purpose-built facility can only heighten the profile of the festival, which is widely considered second only to Cannes in terms of importance. It currently does not have its own public screening facilities; moreover, the closure of key cinemas used by the festival threatened the long-term viability of a downtown event. Both Montreal and Vancouver have dedicated projects underway.

The Toronto project, to be announced on Tuesday, April 1, is understood to be part of a condominium development in the city's centre. Three architectural firms, two from Toronto and one from New York, are on the short-list. Ground-breaking is expected within three years.

While the autumn film festival is the signature event of the city's cultural year, it is one part of an annual programming enterprise operating under the umbrella of the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG).

Other TIFFG departments include a large film reference library, the Sprockets children's film festival, the Film Circuit, a touring collection of films from the festival, and most important, the Cinematheque Ontario, which programmes screenings year-round and currently uses an off-site screening room belonging to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Not only will the new facility provide a venue for that programming, it will provide much needed space for TIFFG's vast collection of film-related material, most of which has been kept in storage because of space limitations at its current location.