• Client Profile: Toronto International Film Festival

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to promoting the best of Canadian and international cinema. Known for the world renowned Toronto International Film Festival, it also holds the TIFF Kids International Film Festival and has the world’s most extensive collection of English Canadian film related material.

    Located in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district, TIFF employs more than 150 full-time staff and generates an annual economic impact of $170 million for the city. 

    Interior photo of Toronto International Film FestivalThe Project

    TIFF Bell Lightbox is a 153,000 square foot, five-storey complex that includes a three-storey atrium, offices for the organization, five state-of-the-art cinemas, two restaurants, learning studios for students of all ages and galleries and research space. 

    The $140 million project was launched to provide a permanent home for the annual film festival and resulted in 1,300 full-time jobs during construction. Larger theatres host performances and concerts while a smaller theatre on the top floor acts as a learning space where aspiring filmmakers can edit and screen their films. Other features include the Canadian Film Gallery and the Film Reference Library. The facility provides year round galleries, cinemas, archives and activities for cinema lovers.

    The Solution

    As with all charitable campaigns, when funds are raised they are based on commitments to be contributed over time. To allow TIFF to complete construction and not have to wait until all funds were received, it reached out to Infrastructure Ontario (IO) to obtain a $46 million loan to address the timing of donation receipts.

    Since TIFF was not the owner of the entire property, financing became more complex. The project had to incorporate partnerships with several other groups, including the other property owners, an underground parking facility and a 42-story condominium building that rests atop the  property. 

    IO was able to partner with TIFF to structure an agreement that provided it with  flexible terms and affordable rates that it could not find with traditional lenders. Construction began in February 2007 and the building opened to the public on September 12, 2010.

    “It was a pleasure working with the knowledgeable staff at Infrastructure Ontario. The savings realized from the Loan Program’s favourable rates will provide us with the opportunity to create diverse and enriching programs for the community.”

    Bruce Hooey, CFO - TIFF

    The Result

    TIFF Bell Lightbox provides a long-awaited home for all existing TIFF programs as well as new initiatives, community and industry events. It is expected that the organization will hold 4,000 events, running 365 days of the year with more than a million people in attendance. 

    TIFF Bell Lightbox allows TIFF, as well as Toronto, to serve as a creative and innovative centre for the rest of the world.  Programming for adults, families and children will focus on diverse, high-quality Canadian and international films that would otherwise be unavailable or inaccessible for the public. 

    For more information on the client, please visit the TIFF website at: www.tiff.net