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People and organizations
Corporate body

Paragon Entertainment

  • Corporate body
  • 1981 - 1996

Paragon Entertainment was a Toronto based public production and distribution company. Founded in 1981 by Jon Slan and Richard Borchiver, Paragon produced a large variety of material, including TV series, Made for TV Movies, animated TV shorts and TV movies, documentaries, and feature films. At the height of their success, Paragon had 75 employees with activities in three countries. Their Toronto office sat on Spadina Ave, in the heart of the city.
The company was able to break into the U.S. broadcast scene, with an office in L.A. Slan and his family moved to California in the late 1980’s to operate the American side of the company. While aboard, the head office in Toronto was run by Borchiver. This touchstone within the U.S. allowed Paragon to have a large presence there, with productions appearing on USA Network, PBS, HBO, and ABC. As the Canadian market was well saturated with home grown productions, Paragon’s work was not broadcast in Canada until 1992.
Paragon made moves within the film and television scene in 1994 when they purchased the British film library Handmade Films in 1994. They later purchased Lacewood, an Ottawa-based animation company. The productions have been well received by audiences across Canada and the United states, winning multiple awards.
When the production company began to falter, Gary Gladman, president of Octapixx Worldwide purchased the majority of the productions. This also included all the requisite paperwork for the creation and distribution of these productions. Octapixx Worldwide Fonds is also available at the University of Toronto Libraries, Media Archive.
Both Jon Slan and Richard Borchiver have continued to have careers in the film and television field after Paragon Entertainment closed. Since 2002, Slan has been the President of Slanted Wheel Entertainment based out of Toronto and L.A. Borchiver, with real estate entrepreneur Paul Wynn from The Wynn Group started another Toronto-based production company entitled Annex Entertainment in 1998.

Orbyt Media

  • Corporate body

Orbyt Media, now a division of Bell Media, is Canada’s leading radio content syndication group. It provides a variety of programs and broadcast services to over 380 stations in 155 markets across Canada. Orbyt’s programs extend outside of radio to web, mobile, and other emerging technologies, although Orbyt is considered a world leader in integrated radio solutions, including productions, branding opportunities, media programming strategies, writing and production facilities, and nationally syndicated programs and online services. Some of Orbyt’s entertainment properties include: On Air with Ryan Seacrest, The Secret History of Rock with Alan Cross, The 80s Show with Stu Jeffries and “KCC”, and Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx, amongst others. As well, Orbyt represents leading production and imaging brands, such as Wise Buddah, ReelWorld, and Production Vault.

Octapixx Worldwide

  • Corporate body
  • 1995-

Octapixx Worldwide was established in 1995 as a broadcast distribution company. Located in Toronto, Ontario, they represent producers from around the world. As of 2019, they represent over 100 producers, and hosts over 3000 hours of content. Octapixx Worldwide carries programing from a multitude of genres, including factual, military, wildlife, history, science, lifestyle, travel, children’s, animation, sports, educational and other documentaries. Their dedication to quality content has led to partnerships and agreements with broadcasters such as ABC, A&E, Al Jazeera, AMC Networks, American Public Television, Canal+, CCTV, Crime + Investigation Network, Czech TV, Discovery Channel, DR, Fox, Foxtel, France 5, Globosat, Groupe AB, The History Channel, KBS, National Geographic Channels Worldwide, NHK, NRK, PBS, Planete, RAI, Red Bull Media House, RTE, RTL Disney, RTVE, SVT, Ten Network, and TRT.

Metalworks Studio

  • Corporate body
  • 1978-

Metalworks Studio is the longest running studio in Canada, founded in 1978 by Gil Moore. Moore, the drummer of the award winning band Triumph, has led the company to success, with the addition of Metalworks Institute, an accredited school training students in music production and engineering. Metalworks has also grown in the direction of live event production, under the title of Metalworks Production Group. Metalworks Studio though, continues to lead Moore’s career. With six studios, Metalworks Studio has recorded many international hit artists like David Bowie, Guns N’Roses, ‘N Sync, and Prince. They have also worked with many successful Canadian artists like Alexisonfire, Anne Murray, Drake, and Nelly Furtado. Many of these albums have been Gold and Platinum Certified.
The studio has been recognized for their talents, winning Canada’s Studio of the Year 17 times at the CMW Canadian Music Industry Awards.

Mercury Films Inc

  • Corporate body
  • 1998-present

Founded by Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier in 1998, Mercury Films Inc is a documentary production company. Productions have been well received both within Canada and internationally, winning awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Canadian Screen Awards, Hot Docs, and the Geminis. Their work focuses on political and social change, bringing in diverse voices to better understand class systems, climate change, and our changing world.

New Music Concerts

New Music Concerts (NMC) is a performing arts organization, established in Toronto in 1971 by Norma Beecroft (president) and Robert Aitken (artistic director) with John A. Wright, John Brown, John Beckwith, and C. Laughton Bird. Joe Macerollo succeeded Beecroft as president in 1989. Its mandate was and is to present and perform contemporary music.

They began an annual series of concerts at the University of Toronto in 1972, which moved to the Premiere Dance Theatre at Harbourfront in the mid-1980s. Their programs feature an international array of composers and performers with composers often conducting or performing in their own works. NMC has also commissioned numerous new compositions by Canadian composers. In addition to concerts, NMC have sponsored events featuring lectures, films, mixed-media presentations, forums, and musical theatre. They released their first CD New Music 90, recorded in 1990, with compositions by Aitken, Beecroft, Gilles Tremblay, and Iannis Xenakis.

NMC is based in Toronto, but is active nationally and internationally, co-sponsoring events with the Banff School of Fine Arts, McGill University, SMCQ, Vancouver New Music Society, L'Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Duo Traces, and the Quatuor Molinari. The NMC Ensemble toured Europe and Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario in 1976. In June 1982, they performed in New York and Washington, D.C.

True North Records

  • 2007.004
  • Corporate body
  • 1969-2006

True North Records, founded by Bernie Finkelstein, is Canada’s longest-running independent record label.

Finkelstein, the son of an Air Force warrant officer, was born in Toronto in 1944. He became involved in the Yorkville music scene in 1963, taking odd jobs and eventually dropping out of high school. While working in a club called El Patio, he met a young band called the Paupers and soon became their manager (often conducting business from a payphone on Yorkville Avenue). Finkelstein found further success managing the band Kensington Market between 1967 and 1969. After a brief period spent living on a farm in Eastern Ontario, Finkelstein returned to Toronto and founded True North Records.

Finkelstein met singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn at a Ryerson University coffeehouse in 1969, and the two established an association that lasts to this day. Cockburn has released 29 albums on True North, including such hits as ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are’, and ‘If I Had a Rocket Launcher’. Other important Canadian singer-songwriters who have recorded for True North include Murray McLaughlan, Luke Gibson, Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden. In 1979, True North ventured into the world of post-punk alternative rock, releasing albums by Carol Pope and Rough Trade. Subsequent rock artists signed to the label have included the Rheostatics, 54-40, the Cowboy Junkies, the Golden Dogs, Zubot and Dawson, Lynn Miles, Hunter Valentine, and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Artists on the True North label have won more than 40 Juno awards and put out approximately the same number of gold or platinum records.

In 1995, True North expanded its operations and released recordings by non-Canadian artists and distributing several international record labels (including U.K.based Cooking Vinyl and U.S.based Fuel 2000, Signature Sounds and Sci-fidelity). In 2007, True North was taken over by Mississauga-based Linus Entertainment; Finkelstein remains the chair and advisor while also managing a number of bands. He is also the chair of VideoFACT, the government-financed organization that funds videos for Canadian music artists.

Bernie Finkelstein has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and named to the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto.

World of Comedy Film Festival

  • Corporate body
  • 2003-2010

The World of Comedy Film Festival was founded by Carla Nolan (1957-2017) in 2003. The Toronto based festival was unique in that there were only two other comedy film festivals in the world when it began. Nolan wanted to create the festival so as to offer “some much needed laughter in the middle of winter”. The World of Comedy Film Festival became the showcase for both Canadian and international filmmakers, especially shorts which often took center stage at the festival.

University of Toronto Music Library

  • Local
  • Corporate body
  • 1921-

In 1918 Toronto College of Music, founded in 1888, amalgamated with the Canadian Academy of Music, and in 1924 the academy was absorbed by the Toronto Conservatory of Music. The Toronto Conservatory of Music then gained the assets of both its rivals, including over one hundred vocal and orchestral scores. The University had taken over the ownership and operation of the conservatory by 1921, and therefore this collection became the foundation of the University of Toronto's music library.

Hugh Hornby Langton's, (University of Toronto's Chief Librarian, 1892-1922), donated a over a dozen scores from his own collection including orchestral works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn in piano duet arrangements from his courting days, which constitutes the University of Toronto's first efforts in collection building for the Music Library. More significantly, he had just returned from a European buying trip for the library, and its results included the addition of a dozen books on music, plus recent scores such as Stravinsky's Chant du rossignol and Sacre du printemps, and of several early tone poems by Richard Strauss.

Currently the library holds over 300,000 books, scores, periodicals and microforms.The Sniderman Recordings Collection, 180,000 sound recordings, from cylinders to blu-ray. The Olnick Rare Book Room, 2,500 volumes exemplifying the history of music and of music editing, performance and printing -- from liturgical manuscripts and early printed treatises, to first editions of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Gershwin, and early Canadian sheet music and tune books. A significant number of 18th- and 19th-century opera full scores, with particular strength in the French repertoire, complement the large libretto holdings of the Central Library.

University of Toronto. Electronic Music Studio

The University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS) was co-founded in May 1959 by Professor Myron Schaeffer and Dr. Arnold Walters, director of the Faculty of Music. Professor Harvey Olnick was also one of the original faculty members. It was the second electronic music studio in North America (preceded by the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1958) and the first such studio in Canada. It was originally located at 2 Division Street before moving into the basement of the Edward Johnson Building, once the building was completed (1964). Users of the studio included music faculty, students, independent scholars, and visiting composers and composition students. In addition to electronic music composition, UTEMS commissioned and invented new instruments and equipment.

Following Schaeffer's death in 1965, Professor Gustav Ciamaga became the director of the studio. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1994, at which point the position passed to Professor Dennis Patrick. Since 2019, UTEMS has been under the direction of Professor Eliot Britton.

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