Rumored since last fall, Walt Disney Animation Canada Inc. announced
Monday, February 14, 2000 it will close the doors of its animation studios
in Canada by the spring. Opened in 1996, the Toronto and Vancouver branches
of Walt Disney were created to produce primarily direct-to-home video films
in connection with Walt Disney Television Animation. The company slowly
started winding down production last fall and will completely close around
April. A Disney spokeswoman said the studio had initially opened in Canada
because it was on an "accelerated" schedule to produce animated programs.
"We don't really need to work on the accelerated time frame that we had in
the past, that the marketplace required previously," the spokeswoman said.
"The timetable that we can turn out projects [in] is not in as high a
demand from the consumer." The Canadian branches at one time employed 220
people. This closing comes at the same time Canadian-based companies like
Nelvana Ltd. and CINAR have been receiving large bids to produce animated
TV series for U.S.-based companies like PBS and Fox.