October 26 2017
Growing frustration at the actions and conduct of the movie industry in our neighborhood
My name is Allen Malloy and I am the owner of Daniel Jewellers established March 1995. I am dedicated to the improvement of Leslieville. I am writing to express my growing frustration at the actions and conduct of the movie industry in our neighbourhood.
We were given notice that Gilead II Productions Inc was to occupy Queen St., Boston Ave and Pape Ave parking for 3 days with hours of operation from 7am to 11pm else 7am to 2am in the morning. The note said they will occupy the area with production vehicles on October 24th, October 25th and October 26th for the purpose of filming at the 1044 Queen St E location. The negative implications on our businesses are not being addressed with each visit these film crews make to our communities and the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is continuing to be pushed by the film crews . Film crews have demanded we remove vehicles without consideration of the inconvenience to our regular operations. The reply we often receive is, “Send us a bill”.
Instead of coming in and supporting our neighbourhood by purchasing from local businesses, we have had the film crews setting up barbeques and or food truck in front of our stores to serve the workers.
Last week during the filming of Circle Productions of a commercial by at the 1022 Queen St E location, we had one of the parking representatives refuse to give us the location managers contact information, telling us we are not negatively affected by the presence of the crews, while simultaneously continuing to argue with three separate individuals about his legal right to stand or walk or say whatever or wherever he chooses. The representative also warned us he was recording all of our interactions with him on audio and video. I can only assume that sensitivity training is not a requirement for film crew representatives when dealing with the public.
The film industry is an integral part of the economy here in Toronto and it is not our intention to stifle their business. But, we have to make it clear that we will not continue to allow them to stifle our businesses. Our rents continue to increase. The turnover of businesses who can’t continue is evident in our Community and we cannot allow the film crews to also be a negative factor on our livelihoods
On Monday October 23rd I sent a note to Gilead II Productions Inc about their scheduled 56 hour takeover of your streets, to give them an estimation of our losses because of their presence here and asking them for compensation for the retailers. They sent a representative in to see me on Tuesday the 24th, he said:
– they do not have the budget to pay per store per day because that would cost millions of dollars over the city.
– my opening hours show my store is closed when they do the filming so why should I care
– if the community persists on wanting compensation from the film industry then they will leave the community and our taxes will go up. In any of the other communities that they’ve left, the taxes have gone up and it will happen here also he said.
– other production crews and commercial guys are not professional but they are so they will not be a problem.
– they’ve already gone around and gotten written permission from everyone in September.
I asked our affected retailers who would be affected by their presence if they gave permission or signed something, some said they did, some said they did not, others said they did in September but it was not for them to do it again.
I also asked their representative what he is offering for our retailers since he said a few time he could not pay the number we requested, he said they are not offering anything.
Tuesday evening at 6pm they blocked parking on the north and south side of Queen between Pape and Boston and started blocking parking north on Pape Ave and north on Boston Ave. This frustrated me even more because their filming notification said the vehicles will not be arriving until 25 hours later at 7pm the following day. I also knew that off peak parking disallowed parking between 7am and 9am on the north side so there was absolutely no need to muscle us out when the north side would be vacated at 7am. With our thriving restaurants in the area there is seldom a free parking spot at night. This was simply a miscalculated power play in their favor against our community in my opinion and it angered me.
That evening I started checking online about what others had done about it. I read enough to know that many others were just as frustrated about it as I had learned our community was and the notes and comments seem to end without solutions, there seemed nothing we could do except complain. Wednesday morning I decided to close my store for a few hours and after making some picket signs decided to let the film industry know our frustration and went out speaking with the community about it by walking in front of the set location. Since I am a long time business in the area, I brought my letter to Gilead II Productions Inc and my signed sheet from the other retailers as further proof to those interested in talking to me about my picket sign and reason for being there, so they would know that it was not just me complaining. I was disturbed but I did not want to shoot myself in the foot and hurt my own business. A few people came to speak to me and every time that representative from Gilead II Productions Inc (the same man who came into my store) stood beside me and then asked if he could explain their side. He would say things like they paid $1000.00 of dollars to reserve these spots from the city so they are allowed to use them, they provide thousands of jobs to the community and I was just one person who does not even own a store on this block affected so it should not be my concern. He told them I wanted to get thousands of people fired because of my actions. I reiterated I wanted fair compensation for the retailer and that working with us to find a solution would prevent this action
At one point a gentleman who stopped asked if he could sign my sheet and I let him. Afterward I started letting others sign the sheet when they asked. From that point I noticed that this representative from Gilead II Productions Inc seem overly satisfied whenever he dissuaded someone from continuing in speaking with me but also seemed overly disturbed when he found someone wanted to support my cause and sign my sheet, despite hearing his point of view. I then realized it was the signatures that bothered him the most and since he was dogging me around with great success (most people did not want to be in the middle of opposing views and just walked away) I then left and went to knock on the doors of my neighbours on Boston to see what the neighbours thought of their parking being taken away. Within minutes the same gentleman from Gilead II Productions Inc left his spot at Pape and Queen and was there on Boston standing behind me at the doorways waiting to explain their side to the homeowners (I assme the parking guy alerted him of my actions).
My original intent was to go out for a couple hours but now I was getting more and more disturbed. I left my store closed for the entire day and continued picketing from 11am to 9pm, talking to the community and hearing many horror stories from the people. I continued getting signatures, I filled up over 4 1/2 pages with signatures until at after 9pm when I noticed the production vehicles were just starting to arrive. I was exhausted and could stay no longer. I assume they did the filming until 2am as the notice had said.
I noticed this morning at 9am most of the pile-ons are gone from Boston Ave and Pape Ave. Some are still on Queen but not as obstructive as they were the day before when they were taking up the entire blocks. This is unusual since they said in their original notice to have been permitted to, and I have seen they normally do use, all the spaces for the entire time. They do not mind to pay for the cone parking guy to watch the spots for the full extent of their availability but the refuse to compensate us. I wanted to get more signatures today while they continued in the area but I am hurting from yesterday’s workout and most of the obstruction is miraculously gone.
On a separate but related note I will add also that notification has been distributed that SPY FILMS 488 Wellington St. W. T,O.- t:416.979.7797- f: 416.979.3090. e:firstname.lastname@example.org has provided us notice and was scheduled to also do a production at 1156 Queen St E occupying North side of Queen between Brooklyn & Jones One side of Coady between Queen and Mallon. The note said they will begin reserving the areas October 25th at 4pm with vehicles arriving 24 hours later on October 26th at 4pm and leaving October 26th at 11pm, that is 55 hours of community disruption.
I do not know who allows this parking obstruction to happen but some sort of regulation apart from city financial benefit needs to be addressed here. In our case, the first 26 hours and the final 16 hours of their proposed 53 hour street takeover was not necessary, most of the cones are gone from our area now, so it is undoubtedly not a necessary thing to inconvenience so many of us just because the production crews can afford to use their money to muscle us out and in turn chooses to do so.
I would like to see this problem addressed and be part of the discussion as it happens
Thank you for your attention to this matter
Response from Fletchers office
Good Afternoon Mr. Molloy,
I was in contact with Cathy Quinton of the BIA regarding this issue this afternoon. Thank you for providing all of these details. They are extremely helpful and give me the information I need to be able to investigate this very thoroughly.
At Councillor Fletcher’s request, I am contacting the Film Office to get more details on the production companies and the film shoots in your area as well as the upcoming permits.
Councillor is very concerned about the tenor of the interaction you describe with the film company and we will be following up on that without delay. It is both unfortunate and unacceptable that you have been treated with such disregard.
Our small businesses and the film sector are vital and both play an important role in the city’s economy. I would be most grateful if you would give us a couple days to sort through all of this information. I am confident we can work together to find a constructive way forward for everyone.
I will be in touch early next week.
2 weeks later on November 8th
I thank Councillor Paula Fletcher office for their response to this letter on October 26 2017 but it has been some time now and there has been no further communication regarding this matter.
I have sent the information through to City News who contacted me and said they will contact Councillor Paula Fletcher office to light a fire under them. They also said they will contact me again tomorrow if they need any more information and / or to let me know the status on how they see to proceed with this if they decide to proceed with this.
Response from Fletchers office
Councillor Fletcher spoke with members of the Leslieville BIA, in person, on Friday, November 3rd about the concerns you raised. She offered to set up a meeting with members of the film community and the BIA to discuss this further and find solutions. They agreed this was a good way to move forward.
It is unfortunate you were not advised of this plan. The coordinator of the BIA has just left on holiday so it may explain how this fell through the cracks.
Scheduling meetings with busy people is always a challenge but I can assure you we are working on it. I will be in touch with Andrew directly to see what can work best for the BIA.
Hi Susan, thank you for your quick response.
There are roughly 8 people on the board of directors. I am one of them, I am a Leslieville business owner and I am a Leslieville resident. I sent this letter and my note requested “I would like to see this problem addressed and be part of the discussion as it happens”. I was told by you “I would be most grateful if you would give us a couple days to sort through all of this information”. I was under the impression that in asking for a couple days you were indicating a willingness to respond back to me, and everyone else you cc’ed the note back to, the plan of action you asked the “couple days” to prepare.
It has been 14 days since you requested for a couple days and in my opinion meeting with ‘members of the Leslieville BIA” who “agreed this was a good way to move forward” and one of those members was not me sound a little bit like dragging your heels. I understand Councillor Fletcher is on the film board so I don’t even know if she is the proper person to address this situation. In my experience scheduling meetings is generally not difficult if the topic is important.
I am not a politician and I am not experienced in knowing how to deal with this matter, but I am hoping that by contacting the media and making this issue more public, a deeper sense of urgency may be created in the minds of those involved so this matter is addressed quicker.