Hot Docs reports $29m economic impact for Ontario

As part of its first economic impact study, the organization behind the festival, conference and Toronto cinema reported that it contributes US$29 million to Ontario's GDP.
September 25, 2013

In marking its 20th anniversary this year, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has released a study indicating its economic value to its host province of Ontario.

The festival, conference and market, in addition to its year-round activities, which include operation of the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, contribute a total of CAD$29.9 million (US$29 million) to Ontario’s GDP, the economic impact report states.

Of that amount, $16 million in Canadian business deals is attributed to Hot Docs industry market programs and activities. Local tourism benefited from $5.1 million in attendee expenditure at the festival and $6.7 million in industry delegate expenditure.

Hot Docs year-round operations also contribute 413 jobs and $13 million in tax revenue to the province, in addition to its economic activity.

Also noted is Hot Docs’ lure as a tourism attraction: of the study’s industry delegate respondents, 66% were visitors to Toronto, the majority from international locations, while 17% of festival attendee respondents were visitors to the city.

The festival has grown – from screening 21 films at its inaugural trade event – into the largest documentary festival in North America. The 2013 edition, which took place from April 25 to May 5, screened 204 documentaries, hosted 2514 registered delegates, and reported a total estimated audience of 180,000.

“We’re heartened to see such robust results in Hot Docs’ first-ever economic impact study. Toronto has become a premiere destination for filmmakers and film fans,” said Hot Docs executive director Brett Hendrie in a statement.

RELATED: Adam Benzine explores the event’s growth and success in Still Hot After 20 Years

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.