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Film

10 movies you might not know were shot in Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / June 5, 2014

movies shot in torontoToronto is one of the best actors in the movie industry. It has, over the decades, masqueraded as New York City, Chicago, Boston - even small-town USA. The TTC has a set of signs that make disused Bay Lower station look like a stop on the New York subway, and you can often spot bright yellow cabs lining the Toronto curb surrounded by movie cameras. In fact, Adelaide St. is pretending to be the Big Apple for the new Adam Sandler movie Pixels right now.

World Film Locations: Toronto, a new book edited by Tom Ue, film buff and scholar of English language and literature at University College London, chronicles our city's numerous appearances on the big screen in everything from terrifying zombie apocalypses (Resident Evil: Apocalypse) to goofy Adam Sandler comedies (Billy Madison.)

Using the book as my guide, here's a list of 10 famous movies shot in Toronto.

A Christmas Story (1983)
Toronto is disguised as the fictional U.S. town of Hohman, Indiana in this classic Christmas movie. When the Parker family's Oldsmobile gets a flat tire, Ralphie Parker's Old Man steps out onto Cherry Street in the Port Lands, just past the famous metal bridge. In the ensuing rush to swap out the wheel, the hubcap and bolts are knocked into the snow, prompting Ralphie's famous "oh, f...udge" response. "Only I didn't say 'fudge,' I said the word, the big one, the Queen Mother of dirty words, the f--- word."

Police Academy (1984)
The Silver Dollar Room on Spadina provided the all-important backdrop to a classic Police Academy scene - The Blue Oyster Bar. The all-night dance marathon scene that features a copious amount of leather-clad bikers was shot entirely within the Silver Dollar. The scene was so successful it became a repeat gag, appearing in three of the movie's six sequels.

Cocktail (1988)
When Cocktail's Brian Flanagan and Douglas Coughlin, played by Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown, dream of opening a bar of their own, the pair are working at the Cell Block - or, as Toronto knows it, the rotunda of the Don Jail. In one scene, the building, now lovingly restored as part of the Bridgepoint Health complex, is bathed in blue light and jam-packed with trendy drinkers when Tom Cruise gets up on the light-up bar to recite a poem.

Billy Madison (1994)
Black Creek Pioneer Village makes an appearance in Adam Sandler's first Hollywood movie following his stint on Saturday Night Live. On a school trip to Toronto's little town of historic buildings with the late, great Chris Farley, Sandler pours water on his crotch in solidarity with a kid who has wet himself. Toronto movie gold.

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Matt Damon and Minnie Driver's "Harvard bar" is actually the Upfront Bar and Grill on Front Street. The classic scene, which precedes the even better "how do you like them apples?" bit, sees Damon school a smug Harvard student with some homegrown genius. "My boy's wicked smart," says one of his buddies, reminding us it's is supposed to be Beantown.

American Psycho (2000)
Though the black steel of King Street's TD Centre would make a great movie exterior, it's the interior of one of its boardrooms that appears in American Psycho, a terrifying exploration of the vanity and egomania of the 1980s New York banking industry. In the scene, Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman tries to show off a new business card, but is left envious when his rivals produce nearly identical (but somehow better) ones of their own. "Something wrong, Patrick? You're sweating."

X-Men (2000)
The X-Men movie franchise has spawned numerous sequels; the latest, Days of Future Past, came out last month. In the original flick, Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto meet in the suitably futuristic surroundings of Roy Thompson Hall to discuss the future of human- and mutant-kind. It's an important scene in the franchise as relations pretty much deteriorate from this point on.

Chicago (2002)
The movie might be set and based around the culture of the windy city, but several key scenes were shot in a number of spots around Toronto: the Elgin Theatre, Union Station, Osgoode Hall, and on the steps of the Queen's Park legislature building. The toe-tapping song "Nowadays" that provides the movie's finale was shot entirely on the stage of the Elgin Theatre, re-branded for Hollywood purposes as the Chicago Theatre.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
The Resident Evil movie franchise evolved out of the classic Capcom video game, in which members of an elite police squad are forced to escape a mansion overrun by bloodthirsty zombies and other freaky mutants. Toronto is all over the 2004 movie. There are key scenes in Nathan Phillips Square, where there's an epic showdown between the Nemesis mutant and one of the main characters, and at the Prince Edward Viaduct, which plays the zombie-infested city's barricaded exit. The CN Tower even makes a brief cameo.

Cosmopolis (2012)
David Cronenberg has used Toronto as a backdrop in several movies, including Crash, in which the Don Valley Parkway makes a cameo appearance. Early in Cosmopolis, Robert Pattinson, as Eric Packer, steps from between the columns of Union Station to a row of identical white limousines. The rest of the movie showcases and later questions Packer's obsession with repetition and symmetry.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Discussion

65 Comments

Freddy F / June 5, 2014 at 05:50 am
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The Silver Streak (Toronto poses as 3 different American cities in that one...)
Strange Brew
Due South (TV series, but the whole thing was practically shot in Toronto-posing-as-Chicago...)
Adam / June 5, 2014 at 07:09 am
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Harold and Kumar has a scene where one of them grabs the steering wheel at the last second and swerves the car off of Eastern Ave and onto Richmond St.

Sooooo...iunno.
A. / June 5, 2014 at 08:54 am
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also,
Kick Ass
Kiss Ass 2
Cinderella Man
Hairspray
Tommy Boy
The Fly (Cronenberg)
Scott Pilgrim
JP / June 5, 2014 at 09:05 am
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A few more that come to mind:

Ang Lee's The Hulk
Cinderella Man
Tommy Boy
TJ / June 5, 2014 at 09:06 am
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I knew most of these movies were either partially or fully shot in Toronto so it's not a great title for this post. It's more appropriate to say "Big Box Office Hits and Cult movies partially/fully shot in Toronto". A lot of these movies had buzz in Toronto while filming.

It's 10 movies people, not every single movie you can think of that was shot in Toronto. Chill folks.
NIck / June 5, 2014 at 09:14 am
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The blurb about American Psycho makes it sound as if only the boardroom scene was shot in Toronto, while in reality quite a bit of it was, including the exterior of the TD Centre towards the end of the movie when he's on the run. Other scenes were shot in various Toronto restaurants and bars as well (some now closed).
Jamie / June 5, 2014 at 09:18 am
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Half Baked. Filmed in Toronto.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120693/
Kate / June 5, 2014 at 09:20 am
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Repo! the Genetic Opera
Liberty Villain / June 5, 2014 at 09:23 am
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10 movies you *might not* know were shot in Toronto.

Stop being so critical. It's a frickin blog.
Chris / June 5, 2014 at 09:26 am
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HOW CAN WE FORGET MEAN GIRLS???
KevinN / June 5, 2014 at 09:40 am
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X-men, Saw, Robocop(latest), Total Recall (latest) was also filmed here... a lot of remakes LOL

So many movies were/are filmed in Toronto.
Everyone Listen up / June 5, 2014 at 09:55 am
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I can save everyone the time of replying with movie this and movie that.

Go to http://torontoist.com/tag/reel-toronto/

They have had a recurring segment called "Reel Toronto" for years. It will give you a very detailed run down on every movie filmed in the GTA.

Sean / June 5, 2014 at 09:59 am
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@Liberty Villain: Nobody's being critical. The original 10 postings on the article was good! What it did was make people think of other movies filmed in Toronto. It's amazing just how many movies have been filmed in the city.
Keep the list growing replying to a comment from Liberty Villain / June 5, 2014 at 10:12 am
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Yo Liberty Villian it's called having engaged users. I don't think its negative that many people are adding to this great list of films made right here in Toronto!

Keep the list growing!

SAW 2,3,4,5,6, and SAW 3D were all filmed in Toronto
Mac replying to a comment from JP / June 5, 2014 at 11:00 am
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Ang Lee's 'Hulk' was not filmed in Toronto. The sequel, 'The Incredible Hulk' was
mike in parkdale / June 5, 2014 at 11:04 am
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The shootout at the end of the first Police Academy building was shot in Liberty Village at the top corner of Hannah (which is now the intersection of hannah and snooker street, I believe.)

Anyone who lived or worked in Liberty before the massive condofication should be able to recognize the location.
Alex / June 5, 2014 at 11:37 am
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Degrassi High - School's Out

1992
Greatest quote in movie history replying to a comment from Alex / June 5, 2014 at 11:47 am
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"You were fucking Tessa Campanelli?"
Todd Toronto / June 5, 2014 at 11:55 am
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The article is entitled "might not know," so fair enough.

But I thought EVERYONE (of a certain age) knew "Police Academy" was shot in Toronto. That was, like, the most well-known Toronto shot movie for years. It's still the first one I think of.
TC / June 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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Nurse 3D!
Jakob / June 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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Wasn't A Christmas Story actually shot in St. Catharines?

The titular Police Academy is now Humber College's Lakeshore campus, if you want to visit it. You can almost see Lassard looking out the window.
Cori / June 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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Adventures in babysitting: http://filming.90210locations.info/film-locations/adventures-in-babysitting/

dillydally / June 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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Guillermo Del Toro once decided that he liked Toronto best and then over the last three years went about pumping 600 million dollars into the economy here and putting about 3000 people to work. Pacific Rim, Mama, The Strain, and is currently shooting Crimson Peak. ... Can we name a sandwich or a street, or a studio after this guy?
Yes! replying to a comment from dillydally / June 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm
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Hear, hear!
Michael / June 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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Definately should be on this list

K-19 The Widowmaker (all the interior scenes on the submarine, which was actually filmed at the old Kodak plant)
Pacific Rim
Carrie (remake)
Boondock Saints (Both of them)
Ralphie replying to a comment from Jakob / June 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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You can find the shot locations of all movies on IMDB
Christmas Story was shot in
Cleavland, OH

Toronto, ON
St. Catherines, ON
Lindsay, ON

Check it out
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085334/locations?ref_=tt_dt_dt
Peter / June 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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How has nobody mentioned Half-Baked?
Marc / June 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm
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Shoot Em Up
Are you baked? replying to a comment from Peter / June 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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Was mentioned in the 8th comment from the top.
Mur / June 5, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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I think Gremlins 2 was filming in Toronto too.
Sarah / June 5, 2014 at 01:10 pm
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The best Toronto filmed movie of all time: My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
g.s. / June 5, 2014 at 01:25 pm
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The Long Kiss Goodnight transformed the under construction 407 into a full fledged town.

Courtney replying to a comment from Sean / June 5, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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WHAT IF is actually titled THE F WORD in Canada. ;)
jd83 / June 5, 2014 at 01:51 pm
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Yeah. Reel Toronto is a great resource.

Take Cocktail for example.

http://torontoist.com/2009/01/reel_toronto_cocktail/

It would be good if they could allow updates as well.

Like they mention Med Sci building for the classroom shots. But updating info that the room is MS 3163 would be helpful.

Ashley / June 5, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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Billy Madison & X-Men were filmed in Oshawa too. The mansions in both films were Parkwood Estates
Ashley replying to a comment from A. / June 5, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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Love Scott Pilgrim! Go Lee's Palace & Second Cup!
Amy K / June 5, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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Take This Waltz with Seth Rogan and Michelle Williams was shot here!
lola / June 5, 2014 at 07:39 pm
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I can't believe they didn't mention that Northern Secondary School has been used several times in movies. Specifically in Billy Madison for the final test at the end in the auditorium and in resident evil when they are in the school full of dead dogs and kids. Also our City Hall was used in the Resident Evil movies
TorontoVerve replying to a comment from NIck / June 5, 2014 at 08:07 pm
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One of the bar/restaurants in American Psycho was Shark City on Eglinton Avenue East. Loved that place back in the day.
David Priceless / June 5, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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Rob Ford Crack Video #1 & #2 were also shot in Toronto, 15 Windsor drive and the other in Kathy "I steal toothbrushes" Fords basement. There are other Rob Ford sequels shot in and around Toronto, mostly in Etobicoke dives and crack-houses. There are rumours of another Rob Ford video where he's in hand-cuffs led away to prison, but Stephen Harper needs ford-nation votes, so that movie might not happen.
Ronnie / June 5, 2014 at 09:10 pm
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Cocktail was also filmed at the Lakeview diner on Sunday and Ossington!
Tommy Boy / June 5, 2014 at 09:18 pm
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Tommy Boy!!

Lots of good shots of Toronto in that movie.
BK replying to a comment from Jamie / June 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm
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70% of Serendipity was shot in Toronto!
Laura / June 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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Xmen, Chicago, Billy Madison (among many, many other big Hollywood movies as well) were also largely shot in Oshawa at the McLaughlin mansion Parkwood estate. (Billy's home, the academy grounds in x-men, and the three way in Chicago.)
Jimmy Bones / June 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm
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What about ALL the Saw Sequels....ALL 6!!!
Tofanatik / June 6, 2014 at 12:00 am
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The best one is ....The Boondock Saints! Please add my page on Facebook! Tofanatik...thanks!
David / June 6, 2014 at 01:21 am
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The opening scenes of Manhattan were also filmed in Toronto.
Donald Cronenberg / June 6, 2014 at 09:21 am
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Cronenberg's Dead Ringers was also shot here along with John Q. It's a big list, the article just picked 10.
ENOUGH ALREADY / June 6, 2014 at 10:14 am
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Like someone already stated...

http://torontoist.com/tag/reel-toronto/

Enough with the "but what about"..

We get it.
Mike Edgell / June 6, 2014 at 04:19 pm
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There's a reason we never film the CN Tower...

http://76brandfilms.com/video-production-in-toronto-why-we-never-film-the-cn-tower/

Woody / June 7, 2014 at 09:15 am
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It's nice to see that a lot of people remember movies from the 80's - 2014. But there were a lot of great movies that were shoot in and around Toronto, in the 50's 60's.
tim / June 7, 2014 at 01:38 pm
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Here's a few more:

Frozen

Team America World Police

Polar Express
Ian / June 8, 2014 at 01:36 am
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Tommy Boy was shot in Toronto...
Dan / June 8, 2014 at 07:02 pm
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Tim Alan shot The Santa Claus in TO. Downtown Oakville was well represented.
Elena / June 9, 2014 at 01:47 pm
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Chloe. Toronto looks so beautiful in this movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a13PqQq4fv0
Jarek / June 11, 2014 at 11:24 am
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Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas & me :p . It was filmed in various places around Toronto and the Royal York.
Sam / June 16, 2014 at 08:15 am
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The Last Detail (Hal Ashby, Jack Nicholson)
Peter Auger / June 19, 2014 at 04:14 pm
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This book has a great list of films shot in Toronto:

http://www.amazon.ca/World-Film-Locations-Tom-Ue/dp/1783201959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&;qid=1402859295&sr=8-1&keywords=1783201959
Spike replying to a comment from Mike Edgell / June 19, 2014 at 05:20 pm
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I'm waiting for Warner Brother & DC Entertainment/DC Comics to shoot their superhero movies here, with the CN Tower fully included.
Reba268 replying to a comment from Ian / July 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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the garage scene where the door gets torn off was shot in Schomberg on
Reba268 replying to a comment from Ian / July 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm
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The scene at the gas station when the door came off was filmed in Schomberg On
StellsBells / August 15, 2014 at 08:18 pm
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America Pie: The Naked Mile was shot at Victoria College, U of T
Ilya Sverdlov / August 15, 2014 at 09:30 pm
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In Police Academy 1, Steve Gutenberg actually parks that car right behind Roy Thomson Hall, fully visible in the shot if you pay attention. And I hear CN Tower did make it into Police Academy 3 (when they were shooting water scooter chase around Toronto Islands), can't be bothered to rewatch that.
you're wrong / August 17, 2014 at 06:28 am
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A Christmas Story was shot in Cleveland, not Toronto. There were two scenes shot in Toronto. The alley scene and the restaurant scene.
Source: A Christmas Story house & museum.

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