Sudbury man fighting film studio plans for land expropriated from his family over 50 years ago

A Sudbury man says it's illegal for a private movie studio to keep operating on land expropriated from his family over 50 years ago. Northern Ontario Film Studios has been run out of the old Barrydowne Arena in New Sudbury for the last six years.

Northern Ontario Film Studios started leasing old arena building in 2012

The old Barrydowne Arena has been used as a film studio for the past six years. It sits on land that was expropriated from the Temelini family in the early 1960s to be used as a flood plain. (Erik White/CBC )

The Northern Ontario Film Studios moved into the old Barrydowne Arena in New Sudbury six years ago, calling it a temporary home until a permanent facility was built.

But the movie and television production company would now like to stay another three years and is asking the city to extend its lease until 2021.

The building, which hasn't been used as an arena since 2003, is owned by the City of Greater Sudbury, although the land underneath it is owned by Conservation Sudbury.

Back in the early 1960s, that land was owned by the Temelini family.

It was expropriated by what was then called the Junction Creek Conservation Authority to be used as a flood plain. It took the land, but would have been required to pay the family fair market value. 

"And it wasn't the only property in the city. Various places were identified as important areas that are flood plain and should not be developed," says Carl Jorgensen, the general manager of Conservation Sudbury.

Developer Paul Temelini proposed in the 1990s that a golf course be built over the swamp land in New Sudbury known as "The Ponderosa," some of which was expropriated from his family in the 1960s. (Erik White/CBC)

The Temelinis also had some of their lands expropriated by the city so it could install a new sewer line, which is still in use today.

Sudbury developer and lawyer Paul Temelini is now opposing the film studio's plans, arguing that it's illegal for a private business to operate on land expropriated from his family for a different purpose.

He had a plan to develop some of that land himself in the 1990s, proposing to build a golf course over the nearby swampland known as "The Ponderosa" but it never got off the ground. 

Temelini is declining to comment before the matter is heard by Greater Sudbury's planning committee on Monday.

Jorgensen says his challenge isn't stopping the conservation authority from moving ahead with the lease renewal.

"We just see it as someone with an opinion," he says.

"The vast majority of the piece of property that was purchased was for flood plain purposes and that still is is the case."


Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to


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