Celebrity news agency Splash has continued its conquest of North America, opening offices in Toronto and Vancouver.
The agency was founded by British journalist Kevin Smith in Los Angeles in 1989. Its New York office opened on September 10, 2001, and the Canadian operation has started up in the past month. It now employs 28 staff and 50 freelances, predominantly British.
Former New York Post reporter Brad Hunter, a Canadian national, is heading the Canadian operation at the head office in Toronto, joined by chief photographer Martin Grimes, who is Scottish.
Canadian Andrew Stones will cover Vancouver and the West Coast and both offices will be backed up by a group of freelance photographers.
Splash spokesman Gary Morgan said: “It is estimated that as many as a million expats live in Canada now and the country has become a huge target area, especially for Hollywood movie making. We feel we need a presence there.”
Splash in Canada has already taken photos of Halle Berry after breaking her arm on set in Montreal and Angelina Jolie playing with her baby boy. Other celebrities caught on camera include Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
Morgan explained the success of Splash, saying: “Whereas in England there’s a news agency in every city, that’s not the way it works over here. We were the first real news agency in LA and it coincided with the boom in celebrity.
“We are now syndicating in 38 countries around the world including Latvia, Lithuania and the Middle East.”
He added: “There are a number of British related stories happening there and a great number of Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish expats have settled in Canada.
“Along with our offices in New York and Los Angeles we can cover anywhere in the continental US and Central and South America, making full use of the time zones.”