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Toronto’s Brand New Film Commissioner

Little Mosque on the Prairie's Zaib Shaikh will be the City's first ever Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries.

Zaib Shaikh with his wife, media executive Kirstine Stewart. Photo by Flickr user Canadian Film Centre.

Today, the city was introduced to its very first Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries: Zaib Shaikh. Shaikh is probably best known for playing the role of Amaar Rashid in the CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, but he’s made various other TV and film appearances (starring as Nadir Khan in Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, for example)—and once wrote, directed, and produced a TV adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Previous commissioners were responsible only for television and film—Shaikh, as his expanded job title indicates, will also be taking on music and multimedia, promoting Toronto as a world-class entertainment centre. “Our plan is to make Toronto the number one city to produce, create and consume premium and internationally diverse film, television, music and digital media content. I also look forward to leading the City’s efforts to increase tourism and the positive impact of the many special events we do and could host,” he said today.

So what will go down as one of the first official entertainment offerings of Shaikh’s tenure? Why, a performance from Toronto’s own Maestro Fresh Wes.


  • Don Cornelius

    WTF? How does this guy keep failing up? I look forward to learning what in his background makes him the best choice to be Toronto’s Film COMMISSIONER.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      How has he “fallen up” in the past?

    • torontothegreat

      It probably has a lot to do with the fact that his wife is EVP – English language services at CBC.

      His acting career has been abysmal.

      • Somebody

        Not anymore – She’s now the head honcho of Twitter Canada. But yes, I think she has a lot to do with it.

        • torontothegreat

          Even more powerful!

    • David Plant

      I wish Zaib all the best in his new role but to set the record straight, he is actually Toronto’s 6th Film Commissioner (but the first to cover music, in addition to film, television and digital media). The first was Naish McHugh who started tpromoting Toronto as a film industry town in 1979, I was number 2 in 1990, Rhonda Silverstone in 1997, followed by Karen Thorne Stone, Peter Finestone and Randy McLean. We built up the industry to the billion dollar plus industry and Toronto’s fastest growing employment sector that Mr. Saikh is inheriting.

  • Don Cornelius

    There are many qualified & experienced people who could do a good job in this position.
    For background, listen to this, Zaib comes up after about 6 minutes in.

    • torontothegreat

      Thanks for posting that, really interesting.

      • estta

        I love how candid he is in that podcast.