The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival Group's proposed Festival Centre headquarters received a majorboost Friday when the Government of Ontario announced it would donate $20m(C$25m) to the cause.
The plan for the newheadquarters, announced with much fanfare in 2003, has suffered from a lack ofinvestment momentum. TIFFG has set a target of $160m, a sum intended to covercapital funds, an endowment fund as well as ongoing operating funds. TheOntario infusion boosts to $56.5m the overall contributions to date, a littlemore than a third of the target.
A TIFF statement announcingthe province's contribution also moved back two years the anticipated openingdate of the complex. The original announcement suggested the new centre mightbe open in time for the 2006 event in September; the new date is in 2008.
Certainly fiscal caution isone of the reasons the project hasn't moved forward; TIFFG managing directorMichele Maheux has always maintained that the project would not proceed ifdoing so would undermine TIFFG's current strong financial position.
'We're absolutelydelighted that the government of Ontario is investing in the future of the cityand the province,' said TIFFG CEO and director Piers Handling in thestatement. 'Their contribution is a clear indication that arts and cultureare major priorities, and it will leverage the reputation of Toronto as aworld-class urban centre for the arts, and as an international epicentre forcinema.'
The proposed building, whichcombines a 150,000 sq ft complex featuring screening spaces and administrativeheadquarters with a residential condominium tower, will be constructed on landowned by Canada-born Hollywood producer Ivan Reitman and his two sisters.