Groundbreaking ceremony skedded for spring

TORONTO — Almost four years after the project was unveiled, construction began Thursday on the Toronto Intl. Film Festival Group’s new home, Festival Center.

Fencing has gone up and excavation has begun at the downtown Toronto site at King and John streets, donated by Canuck director Ivan Reitman and sibs Susan Michaels and Agi Mandel. An official groundbreaking ceremony is skedded for the spring.

“This truly is a momentous occasion for TIFFG and all our partners involved in this project,” said Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFFG.

“We have eagerly awaited this day since launching our campaign in 2003. Seeing all the activity on the site realizes a dream for this organization and Toronto. Once completed, the building will be a state-of-the-art structure filled with filmmakers, cinephiles, children, educators, arts enthusiasts, international tourists and the best programming in the world.”

Fundraisers have accumulated C$132 million ($112 million) of the $166 million total in capital and endowment funding needed to complete the project.

The first five floors of the Festival Center will house TIFFG operations, including a gallery, five cinemas, educational suites and a film reference library. On top of that will be Festival Tower, a 37-story residential condominium.

TIFFG plans to move into its new home in late 2009.

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