Nikolaos (Nick) Mirkopoulos

The Hellenic Heritage Foundation is proud to present the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Nikolaos (Nick) Mirkopoulos for his outstanding leadership, vision, entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy.

Nick was both architect and catalyst in the creation of booming film and TV production industries in both Toronto and Chicago, creating tens of thousands of jobs for film technicians and new and exciting growth opportunities for both production and related businesses. In 1988, together with his brothers, Nick spearheaded the development of Cinespace Film Studios, the first large-scale film production facility in Canada, earning Toronto the title of “Hollywood North”. He subsequently developed three more studio complexes in Toronto, totalling over 2.5 Million square feet, and helped boost Ontario’s film production industry to over $2 Billion per year. He also orchestrated the redevelopment of a 50-acre industrial site in Chicago into a bustling film production campus and revitalized Chicago’s dormant film and TV production industry, taking the State of Illinois from $25 Million to $499 Million per year in activity. Today, Cinespace Chicago is the largest soundstage campus outside of Hollywood, with 32 stages and full support facilities.

Nick’s love of adaptively reusing old buildings and heritage structures was rooted in his early contracting business, renovating and upgrading many landmark buildings in and around Toronto, but years later Nick delighted in the preservation and transformation of an entire City block in Orillia, Ontario. Today, the Tudhope Building, Orillia City Hall and Heritage Place in Orillia’s downtown core stand as testaments to Nick’s ingenuity and perseverance, and especially his commitment to both the residents and the leaders of the cities that he partnered with.

Nick’s generosity and philanthropy touched many people across many countries. He never forgot his roots and always remembered to give back, taking every opportunity to advance Hellenic initiatives and culture in Canada. He supported the Hellenic Heritage Foundation, the Hellenic Home for the Aged, the Ark of the World Children’s Charity in Greece, many universities and hospitals, and several philanthropic initiatives in Canada, the U.S., Greece and Israel. He was particularly diligent in helping disadvantaged youth and their families. He was a mentor to artists, musicians and filmmakers, and having made significant contributions to both York University and the University of Toronto, he has helped propel both the education and the careers of countless individuals.

In 2014, the Mirkopoulos family of Toronto and the Pissios family of Chicago established the CineCares Foundation in honour of Nick’s generosity and devotion to underprivileged youth. In 2015, the City of Chicago honoured him by dedicating a City street as “Nick Mirkopoulos Way”. In 2017, Chicago’s A Safe Haven Foundation honoured Nick as the Posthumous Humanitarian Hero Award recipient, a very distinguished honour in that City.