toronto music videos

5 music videos you didn't know were shot in Toronto

Local bands aren't shy about showing off Toronto in their music videos, but tons of international acts shoot their clips in our fair city, too. It makes sense: film productions flock to us for the low-cost, big-city resources of "Hollywood North," so it's natural that a bunch of music stars have been attracted by the same qualities - many more than you might realize.

Some surprising famous tunes have had accompanying videos made in Toronto over the years: Tears for Fears sings "Head Over Heels" in Emmanuel College library and Howie Day's "Collide" features a CN Tower-pegged skyline; Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" plays out new-country heartbreak at the King Edward Hotel while Kelly Clarkson got similarly mopey for "Behind These Hazel Eyes" at a local church. Julian Plenti, Grizzly Bear, Wale and Belle and Sebastian are also recent customers to our highly filmable backdrop.

Here are five of the more interesting music videos you may not know were filmed in Toronto.

Marilyn Manson - "The Beautiful People"
Marilyn Manson's breakout video contains some of the most nightmarish visuals in MTV's vaults, and that's partially thanks to Toronto's then-decrepit Distillery District. The clip was shot in the abandoned Gooderman and Worts facility long before it's redevelopment. "The Beautiful People" wasn't just a turning point for Manson, but for director Floria Sigismondi, who was soon nabbed by the likes of David Bowie, Interpol, Sigur Ros and Christina Aguilera.

Wyclef Jean featuring The Rock - "It Doesn't Matter"
This magical nugget of millennial pop-culture cross-promotion was filmed at The Guvernment in 2000. That was a heady time when Hype Williams was the king of music videos, The Guvernment wasn't on the verge of shutting down and Dwayne Johnson was better known as The Rock. Oddly, Wyclef Jean wrote this song before he even knew who The Rock was; his little sister suggested the pairing when she heard its refrain, which just happened to be the wrestler's catchphrase. Bless her.

Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff - "Our Lips Are Sealed"
OK, this video is cringeworthy on many levels - the saccharine auto-tuned production, the squeaky-clean pop-star attempt at channeling "bad-ass rocker," the too-cute sisterly bonding - but Hilary (and sister Haylie) Duff's version of The Go-Gos' classic does get a couple cool points for being filmed in our hood. That's Front Street they joyride on for a stretch and the Berczy Park fountain that they frolic in at the end, besmirching the waters with their bubbly detergent and Disney-fied music.

30 Seconds to Mars - "The Kill"
A Hollywood A-lister who decides to direct a big-budget music video for his band is probably the least surprising thing ever, but what you may not know is that 30 Seconds to Mars filmed the majority of "The Kill" at The Carlu. The aged art deco home of the former "Eaton's seventh floor" was the perfect backdrop for this creepy homage to The Shining. That Toronto could play a role in immortalizing Jared Leto's vaguely gothy, pre-man bun phase is, quite simply, a proud part of our heritage.

The Cure - "End of the World"
New-wave icons The Cure showed Hogtown a lot of love in 2004. Not only did they grace us with their short-lived Curiosa festival, they also filmed the video for their self-titled album's debut single right in our backyard. It's another Floria Sigismondi cut that's a perfect match, her stuttering, decayed visuals complimenting Robert Smith's melted eyeliner/hot mess aesthetic.

What others did I miss? Add your favourite Toronto-shot music videos that people may not know about in the comments.


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