UK-based distributor HIT Entertainment has announced the opening of HIT Entertainment Canada, Inc. Officially launched on August 1, 2002, the Toronto-based office will function under the leadership of vice president Pam Westman, and is comprised of an entirely Canadian staff who are responsible for video, DVD and audio sales and distribution, as well as marketing, consumer products, licensing and broadcast sales for HIT's brands in Canada. "HIT recognizes the importance of having a corporate office in Canada," said Rob Lawes, CEO, HIT Entertainment. "The establishment of this company is a key component of our global strategy. It puts us in an optimum position to grow our business in Canada and ensures that our properties are distributed and marketed effectively by Canadians to Canadians." The Canadian office currently employs five full-time staff members. Included in HIT's family of children's properties are BOB THE BUILDER, ANGELINA BALLERINA, OSWALD and KIPPER. Continuing its growth in the children's market, in March 2001 HIT purchased Lyrick Studios, Inc., one of the largest independent family entertainment companies in the world. This acquisition expanded HIT's catalogue to include BARNEY, WISHBONE and the distribution rights for THE WIGGLES. HIT is currently finalizing negotiations to acquire Gullane Entertainment, which will add Gullane's popular THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE brand to their roster. HIT Entertainment sells programming to more than 120 countries worldwide.