Film Industry in Canada

  • First screening in the country

    First screening in the country
    Two years after the introduction of the Kinetoscope to North America, Canada hosts its first screening of film in Montreal at the Palace Theatre. Government officials and members of the media were invited to attend this private event.
  • First public screening

    First public screening
    After successfully introducing photography to the government agencies, the Holland brothers (successors of Edison's electricity company) and the federal Department of Agriculture host the country's first public screening in Ottawa.
  • The Ouimetoscope

    The Ouimetoscope
    Once a 500-seat mini theatre, Ernest Ouimet demolished the site and converted it into the country's first luxury theatre containing 1,200 seats and air conditiong. The Ouimetoscope opened in 1907 to the public and admission was set so that even the working-class could attend. The theatre closed down in 1924 due to financial difficulties but has since been revived.
  • The Ontario Motion Picture Bureau

    Source: Canadian Film Encyclopedia
    The Ontario government establishes the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau, the first of its kind in the country with a mandate to to carry out “educational work for farmers, school children, factory workers and other classes.” Upon dissolution in 1934, its land and buildings were donated to Trenton for building projects.
  • First studio in Canada

    The city of Trenton opens the country's first film studio which eventually produces a popular anti-communist film called The Great Shadow (1919).
  • The Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau

    Source: The Canadian Film EncyclopediaEncouraged by the Department of Trade and Commerce, the federal — government by order-in-council in September 1918 — established the Exhibits and Publicity Bureau, which was renamed the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau on April 1, 1923. It was the first national film production unit in the world designed to centralize all government film work and to produce films promoting Canadian trade. It has since been aborsbed by the National Film Board.
  • The Canadian Motion Picture Distributors

    The Canadian Motion Picture Distributors
    Source: Motion Pictures Association - CanadaThe Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors was formed. Although Canadian in name, the company was controlled by American interests. Its purpose was to operate studios and cinemas under one umbrella, giving a hegemony to American movie producers. Today, the organization is known as Motion Pictures Association (Canada), advocates of American programming in Canada.
  • Laurier Palace Theatre fire

    Laurier Palace Theatre fire
    Eight-hundred children attended a showing of a comedy at the Laurier Place Theatre in Montreal. Reportedly caused by a cigarette, a fire in the early afternoon killed 78 children. Despite a public inquiry stating the fire was completely an accident, Judge Louis Boyer enacted a law prohibiting children under 16 from attending commercial cinemas.
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    No children!

    Source: Silent Cinema in QuebecAfter the fire at the Laurier Palace Theatre, the Quebec government enacted a law to prohibit children 16 and under from attending commercial cinemas. This law remained in effect until the rise of the Quiet Revolution.
  • Bennett vs Famous Players

    Bennett vs Famous Players
    Prime Minister R.B. Bennett appoints an investigator, under the Federal Combines Investigation Act, to handle over a hundred complaints against American film interests operating in Canada, in particular the Famous Players Canada Corporation, an American company which had full control of the film’s exhibition market. The investigation concluded the company inhibits all the growth of Canadian cinema.
  • Provinces vs Famous Players

    Ontario, Saskatchewan, Albert and British Columbia take Famous Players, and their American counterparts to court in Ontario for “conspiracy and combination”. The company was found not guilty.
  • Odeon Theatres

    Odeon Theatres, a private theatre chain is created to compete with Famous Players, which is later sold to a British company. This meant no change in the American-dominated film industry in Canada: domestically-produced films were still locked out of their own markets. Odeon Theatres and Famous Players eventually merged to form Cineplex Entertainment, the largest exhibitor in the country.
  • The National Film Board

    The National Film Board
    The National Film Board is created. Today, the NFB is a leading producer of world class documentaries, animation and short, experimental films.
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    No productions

    Because of heavily protected Hollywood interests and because efforts were focused on the Second World War, film production in Canada virtually halted.
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    Kodak begins film conversion

    Source: KODAK: Chronology of Motion Picture FilmsKodak, then the biggest digital imaging company, announced it plans to convert its 35mm film material to a tri-acetate safety base. Most movies theatres were using film made out of cellulose nitrate base, a highly flammable material which caused many theatre fires. Kodak completed the conversion by 1952.
  • The Genie Awards

    The Genie Awards
    Source: The Genie AwardsThe Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television honours and showcases outstanding achievements in Canadian cinema from the Genie Awards. For three decades, the Genies – like the Canadian Film Awards before them (switched in 1980) – have celebrated and affirmed the national cinema.
  • The Elgin

    The Elgin
    The Elgin in Ottawa is the first cinema in North America showing movies on more than one screen, becoming one of the forerunners of multiplex cinemas. It was closed in 1994 after Famous Players took control.
    Photo Courtesy: Ottawa City Archives
  • Telefilm Canada

    Telefilm Canada
    Source: Telefilm CanadaThe federal government uses $10 million to establish the Canadian Film Development Corporation, hoping to develop a feature industry that would last. This plan ultimately fails as the films created were low-budget and had no commercial success. Known today as Telefilm, its mandate is to "foster and promote the audiovisual industry in Canada."
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    Tax-Shelter Era

    [The Canadian Film Encyclopedia]('http://tiff.net/CANADIANFILMENCYCLOPEDIA/Browse/bysubject/capital-cost-allowancethe-tax-shelter-years-1975-to-1982)The ‘tax-shelter’ era begins as the federal government increases the capital cost allowance to 100%, seeing a spike in film production in Canada. This allowance created a tax shelter for investors, enabling them to deduct from their taxable income one hundred per cent of their investment in features certified as Canadian, and thus defer taxes until profits were earned. This halted in 1981 as many Canadian films were being compared to poorly-made American films.
  • Capital Cost Allowance

    Capital Cost Allowance
    Source: Canadian Heritage: History of Federal IncentivesThe federal government introduced a fiscal incentive, in the form of a capital cost allowance, designed to assist the film industry to attract private financing. While this measure had some success in fostering production, it did not address issues related to distribution or improving access to screens.
  • The Toronto International Film Festival

    The Toronto International Film Festival
    Source: TIFF HistoryTIFF began in 1976 as the “Festival of Festivals" (renamed in 1995), collecting the best films from other film festivals around the world and showing them to eager audiences in Toronto. That first year, 35,000 enthusiasts watched 127 films from 30 countries.
  • The Vancouver International Film Festival

    The Vancouver International Film Festival
    The Vancouver International Film festival actually started off as a registered charitable organization called the Greater Vancouver Film Festival Society.
  • Feature Film Fund

    Feature Film Fund
    Source: Canadian Heritage: History of Federal IncentivesRecognizing that the Canadian film and video industry had not yet fulfilled its economic and cultural potential, the Government introduced the National Film and Video Policy. One of the Policy's main achievements was the creation of the Feature Film Fund in 1986. Administered by Telefilm Canada, the Fund's purpose was to support investment in high-quality, culturally significant Canadian films for theatrical release.
  • The Ontario Media Development Corporation

    The Ontario Media Development Corporation
    Source: Ontario Media Development CorporationThe Ontario Media Development Corporation helps Ontario's creative industries produce film, television, music, books, magazines and interactive digital media that the whole world enjoys. It was once known as the Ontario Film Development Corporation.
  • Film Distribution Policy

    Film Distribution Policy
    Source: Canadain Heritage: History of Federal IncentivesTo encourage better market access for Canadian productions, the Canadian government adopted its Film Distribution Policy to protect Canadian interests in the film industry.
  • Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit

    Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit
    Source: Canadian Heritage: History of Federal Incentives
    The Canadian government created a program where creators and professionals receive training through the Institut national de l'image et du son, the Canadian Film Centre, the National Screen Institute, and the Canadian Screen Training Centre.
  • Labour costs

    Labour costs
    Ottawa increases the tax credit for labour costs related to Canadina film production to 60 per cent from 40 per cent.
  • Digital Cinema Conversion Parternship

    Cineplex Entertainment and Empire Theatres form the Digital Cinema Conversion Partnership, representing over 1,600 screens. Their mandate is to convert every single theatre in their ownership to digital projectors from film. The partnership acts as a financial support system of over $115 million and upon its completion, eliminates 35mm film from the country's two largest movie exhibitors.
  • Conversion Complete

    The second largest movie exhibitor announced it has finished all the conversions of its theatres to digital projection. Empire Theatres, which has 359 screens spread across 45 theatres, no longer uses 35mm film for its movies.