Riverdale residents object to filming intrusions

Not everyone loves TIFF and the film industry, especially this Riverdale neighbourhood in Toronto.

A year after the nightmare filming of “It” the Movie (2017) at 450 Pape Avenue, excessive filming continues to the dismay of the neighbourhood

For the past two years, 450 Pape Avenue has been used and continues to be used as a film studio and movie lot. There have been 25 filmings – once per month.

The absentee owners (Property Owners contact info) of 450 Pape Avenue are developers benefiting financially from renting out this residence for filming while the neighbours are the ones negatively impacted. An estimate from a film industry insider is that the owners have received over $600,000 over the past two years. For the “It” filming alone the received $250,000.

The filmings often go 24 hours a day for days at a time. This current one Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Movie will begin at 7am Monday September 11, and go until 3am the next morning – for two days. In addition, to the film days, there are days and weeks of preparation, construction and tear down surrounding each filming. It” the Movie(2017) was on location for 42 days. There is bright lighting on cherry pickers, massive and loud air conditioners the size of a small car V1 of AC (The loudest air conditioner you have ever heard), generators in huge trucks, dozens and dozens of vehicles, multiple portable washrooms and huge numbers of people (sometimes well over 100) with each of these filmings. This is not meant for a residential neighbourhood.

The odd film company has offered to put the immediate neighbours, Nick and Cindy Shcherban, up in a hotel. That may sound wonderful but they can not simply pick up and go with only 2-4 days notice. For example, their youngest daughter was recuperating from open heart surgery during a recent filming. They could not move her to a hotel. They also have a dog and cat. They can’t put them in a kennel every month. Another time they had visitors from out of town. With only 2 days notice they could not all move into a hotel room.

The Shcherban’s feel it is now time for the city to say enough filmings at 450 Pape Avenue. This residence is not a film studio and movie lot. They acknowledge that the city is short of film studios but that does not mean the film industry should be impacting residents for years with so much filming at this one location.

— Nick Shcherban

Other neighbours have said:

B L Kue (416) 445 Pape Ave

There are too many filmings. The owners are making too much money. We have no power. We can’t do anything to stop the filming. John Tory does not care. There is always a lot of noise. It affects me taking the TTC bus.

Ms. Milena Ivkovic 246 Riverdale Ave

A long time Riverdale Avenue resident who has lived in the same house since she started kindergarten, said “There are too many films shot there. Sometimes it is every couple of weeks. Way too often. I was okay with the first filming but not the numbers they are up to now. I called 311 and asked how many there have been over the last two years and they said the don’t keep a record of it. I would be too much work for them. The film company gives short or no notice and then the same production continues with the second filming with no notice.”

“Our councilor Paula Fletcher had done nothing to help our neighbourhood. As chair of the Toronto Film Board she has a conflict of interest”

Ming Chen 459 Pape Ave

The filming does not affect me personally as I am rarely here for it due to the long hours I work. I do know it really affects other neighbours. Especially the close ones that have to hear the loud air conditioners and generators

David Kane 458 Pape Ave

I support Nick and Cindy trying to get an end to the filming. But with everything they have done to plead with our Councilor Paula Fletcher and work with Mayor John Tory, they have been unsuccessful in putting an end to the filming over the past two years. I like this idea of issuing a media release as the media is our last resort for help. I hope they cover this filming like they did last year for “It” the movie. I particularly object to the closing of the TTC bus stops. Especially without notice. How is it that they plan these movie shoots months in advance with all the complicated scheduling they have but they can’t give us at least a couple days notice that the bus will not be stopping for us and will just drive right past me standing there. As to the voting system, how can the city keep saying a majority of the neighbours voted for the filming. I have not met one neighbour who said they voted for all these fillings especially the filmings that film right through the night to the morning.

Stephan 463 Pape Ave

I have empathy for Nick and Cindy. As immediate neighbours, they are more negatively affected by all the lights and noise. Me being across the street, I don’t see or hear most of it. I work in the film industry and know these shoots are planned months in advance. The production company needs to give the neighbours much more notice. The current practice of only giving a few days notice does not give us residents time to plan ahead. One time last year I planned a weekend getaway with my girlfriend and it turned out to be the weekend before filming. With more notice, I could’ve planned the weekend away when they were doing their overnight filming. The closing of the bus stops is a real problem for me. I am short of time as it is as I rush to work in the morning. I don’t have the extra time to figure out which bus stops are operating. The film companies definitely break a lot of rules when they do neighbourhood shoots but no one enforces the rules. Actually, the city looks the other way as they are trying to bring more filming to the city. I remember reading a few months ago that the Mayor made a special trip to Los Angeles to lobby for more filming to be done in Toronto. As the city’s official film studios are all booked to capacity, any additional filming only spills into neighbourhoods all over the city. The city needs to approve the building of additional studio space. This neighbourhood is not zoned for so many film shoots and so much disruption. Policy changes by the city are definitely in order.

Darren Chase & Darlene

I wish the city would just stop allowing filming at 450 Pape. Last year during the filming of “It” I was redoing my front walk and a Paid Duty Police Officer told me to do it another day as my work was disrupting the filming. I am still mad that I had to reschedule my work for a couple of days. Everyone loves the film industry but it is the same as the sausage industry. Everyone loves the end product but does not want to know the process to get to the end result. There are residents affected, stunt people hurt and dogs and other animals abused. What affects me most is the closing of the bus stops. I am lucky to have a bus stop right infront of my house and can stay inside till the last minute as I can see the bus coming. It is really upsetting when I go out only to have the driver drive right past me and only shrug their shoulder implying – what can I do. Why can’t they give us a few days written notice of the bus stop closures. Or at least put a sign on the bus stop post as to the upcoming closures. They have time to do it as I see them doing pre film construction for two to three weeks.

Vida Jan, 269 Withrow Ave

For how many more months/ years is this to continue before some positive changes are made?

Why has 450 Pape been allowed to become a set for making movies and ads on a regular basis, besides being a refuge for squirrels and raccoons, even further destroying its designation as a heritage building? It has become nothing other than a money making venture for the owners, a disruption to the neighbourhood, and a major headache for the immediate neighbours around it.

Rob McGroarty, Sofia Cordeiro 455 Pape Ave

I don’t like the process of how the neighbourhood gets to vote on whether we agree to multiple filmings at 450 Pape Avenue or if we agree to the disruption of 24-hour filming. The results of the vote are kept secret by the Toronto Film Office at City Hall. We live in a Democratic society and when I vote in an election or on filming in my neighbourhood, I expect to see the results. I also don’t like that it is the Production Company that conducts the voting, counts the votes and submits the result to the City. It is an obvious conflict of interest situation. The voting should be conducted by a couple of city employees in order to keep it independent from the film company. When they ask how I vote, they mark something on a sheet of paper. Who knows how my vote is counted. They do not give me any documentation about it. Sofie and I really feel for Nick and Cindy who take the brunt of the disruption. The city has to take action to stop all further filming there.