22 Hollywood Movies You Probably Did Not Know Were Filmed In Toronto
The city that's always ready for a close-up.
Photo cred - Nitra Bane
Have you ever been downtown Toronto and seen a bright yellow NYC taxi cruising the streets or parked somewhere along a busy street and thought to yourself 'Go Home taxi, you're drunk'? Now quite possibly a taxi driver got a little lost and ended up in the wrong city but most often, these taxi's are usually props on movie sets where our very own Toronto plays the Big Apple.
Toronto has proven itself to be one of the best actors of its time. It has served as New York City more times than anyone has kept count, not to mention it has also served as Chicago, Detroit,Illinois, even Alaska, just to name a few.
We put together a list of some movies we already knew were filmed in Toronto and some that surprised us, Some of which were filmed in their entirety right here in the city and others only partially but still a guest star can outshine even the most brilliant performances.
Check them out & let us know which surprised you the most or if there are any that we missed! Lights, Camera, Action!
Half Baked starring comedy legend Dave Chappelle, before he was a comedy legend, was shot over 40 days, primarily in Toronto with three days of exterior shooting happening in New York City in order to feature prominent NYC landmarks. The film uses Dundas & Spadina as New York's Chinatown, The Pizza Pizza at 346 Yonge Street as the location for a conversation between man and horse and the now Guvernment/Kool Haus as a club complex. Not to mention, the opening shot of the film disguises the TD centre as the offices of "Frankensense & Burr."
Good Will Hunting
This movie won two Oscars, Best Supporting Actor for Robin Williams and Best Original Screenplay so we like to count Toronto as an Oscar Award winning city. Good Will Hunting used the now closed Upfront Bar and Grill on Front St as the home for the 'Harvard Bar' in which a lot of the film takes place. Other filming locations included Central Tech High School and The University of Toronto.
Except for exterior shots, Chicago wasn't actually filmed in Chicago, which is extra strange because the plot is largely based around the Chicago city culture. The courthouse scene in the movie was filmed in Osgoode Hall while other filming locations include Queen's Park, The Distillery District, Casa Loma, Elgin Theatre, Union Station, Canada Life Building, Danforth Music Hall and Old City Hall. The performance of the song 'Nowadays' that falls at the finale of the film was actually filmed in its entirety on stage at the Elgin, which they had completely revamped for the film as The Chicago Theatre.
Everyone's favourite movie was filmed right here in our very own city! Despite being set in Evanston, Illinois it was really filmed at Toronto spots such as U of T and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute. The epic mall scene with the watering hole metaphor? Shot completely at Sherway Gardens. In the scene where Regina George gets clobbered by the bus we can see a train passing behind Cady on Montgomery avenue and Regina's family home is actually a house on the Bridle Path which has, so very sadly, been knocked down and rebuilt a number of times since filming. Womp, Womp, Womp.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The star of the film, Nia Vardalos is not the only Canadian who starred in 2002's, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toronto also filled in for Chicago. Filming took place primarily across Toronto's Greek Town, Danforth. You can spot a couple prominent spots if you pay close enough attention, including Pappas Grill, Louie's Meats and Pantheon. The travel agency where the lead character, Toula, works is actually 439 Danforth Ave and the family's very greek home actually still exists on St. Clair. Other filming locations include Ryerson's Rogers Communication Center and Kerr Hall.
Set in 1930 New York and New Jersey, Cinderella Man was actually shot in Toronto. The Bay storefront on Richmond Street is transformed to look like 1930 Madison Square Garden while a lot of the fight scenes were filmed in Maple Leaf Gardens (or Loblaws). There is a scene in the movie said to take place on a Weehawken, NJ ferry which is actually Toronto's very own Island ferry. Other Toronto shots you can spot in the film include, The Fairmont Royal York, Union Station, Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Queen St and Roncesvalles and of course, the Distillery District.
Detroit Rock City
More like Toronto Rock City (lame joke but it was too easy). Cult classic, Detroit Rock City used filming locations such as Cedarbrae Collegiate, Whitby's Trafalgar Castle School, Metropolitan United Church, Cathedral Church of St. James and Hamilton's Copps Coliseum. Probably the funniest thing about Toronto's cameo in this movie is the use of the 407 highway which, if you look closely enough, features a shot of the video tolls and we're not entirely sure but if we had to guess Detroit didn't have that technology and certainly not in the year this film is set, 1978.
Freddy Vs. Jason
Toronto wasn't the only Canadian city that housed the filming of this horror movie classic, Vancouver was the primary host to the filming. Our city has been home to the filming of a lot of horror movies which makes us wonder how we feel so comfortable roaming the streets of the city after dark. Filming happened at some abandoned asylums across Canada- creepy!
Yeah, That's right ladies, Zac Efron lived in our glorious city for the filming of Hairspray and we didn't even know it until now. So. much. regret. Hairspray was set in 1960's Baltimore and the transformation of Toronto in the film is pretty exceptional. Apparently a big deciding factor in choosing to film Hairspray in Toronto was our streetcars as Baltimore no longer has electric streetcars. The film transformed Roncesvalles Ave & Dundas St W intersection for the movies opening number. Other Toronto filming locations include Showline Studios on Lakeshore, Lord Lansdowne Public School and Gale's Snack Bar at Eastern and Carlaw.
What we don't understand is why The Vow couldn't have just been set in Toronto? The film is set in Chicago but to any Torontonian or Chicago native who pays close enough attention you can tell that it isn't Chicago. The couple meet for the first time in line at a DMV, which is actually the Rotunda at City Hall. Other obvious Toronto landmarks that you can look for include, The Eaton Centre, Bell Trinity Square, Nathan Phillips Square, The AGO, Casa Loma and University of Toronto. You know the prominent cafe in the film? The one where Rachel McAdams' character goes every morning to get her 'usual'? The cafe Mnemonic, who's menus the couple use to write their wedding vows? It's actually The Roastery in Liberty Village.
2010 & 2013
Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2 were filmed in large part in Toronto. The opening shot of the first film features a view of the New York City skyline, where the film is set, however, it quickly switches to a shot from the roof of the RBC building at Bay & Wellington. What any Toronto movie fan should pick out quite easily is the Scotiabank theatre on Richmond street where you can spot the theatres unique escalator. Other visible Toronto shots include Old City Hall, Roy Thomson Hall and the Yonge-Dundas strip. Let us not forget the appearance of famed Zanzibar in Kick Ass 2.
Fans of this movie know exactly what we mean when we refer to the business card scene and that scene plays out inside of one of King Street's TD Centre boardrooms. Christian Bale's character Patrick Bateman, the American psycho that the film follows, is distressed when he tries his best to show off his new business card but is left quite tormented when his rivals produce what seem to be identical, if not better, business cards. Other filming locations across the city include beloved diner The Senator, Monsoon on Simcoe Street and The Phoenix Concert Theatre.
The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk was primarily shot in Virginia but also saw the closure of Yonge Street for several nights. Former Toronto mayor David Miller didn't smoke crack, instead he convinced filmmakers to shoot the 2008 marvel movie in Toronto because of how huge a fan he was of The Hulk. Yonge street remained closed for 4 nights in order to shoot the important, the Hulk versus Abomination fight. In exchange for the closure, the film also features some noticeable landmarks including the Eaton Centre and U of T.
How lucky is Toronto to have been the location for the filming of Adam Sandler's first post-SNL Hollywood movie. You know that golden moment when Sandler's character pours water on his crotch to make the kid who peed himself feel better? Black Creek Pioneer Village! The film, also featuring, Chris Farley and Steve Buscemi shot at Northern Secondary School, John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa and St. Augustine Monastery.
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
This piece of comedy gold, although set in New York and New Jersey was filmed in Toronto, where we unfortunately do not have White Castle. First and foremost, Harold & Kumar live at the Mayfair Mansions on Avenue Road, 398 Avenue Road to be specific and the University of Toronto plays the convincing role of Princeton. Other noticeable spots include the Cineplex Odeon Queensway featured in a cruising shot on the boys road trip, the Parkway Chrysler on Erin Mills Parkway and a Baker's Dozen on Kipling Road serving as the 'Burger Shack.'
Tommy Boy is set in Ohio and little towns in its surrounding but was primarily shot in Toronto. This film opens with our not-so-smart hero, Tommy at school, which is actually U of T, he's late for a test so we end up getting some pretty great shots of the campus while he runs through it, specifically the Hart House. The family business for which Tommy is working hard to smarten up in order to make sure he inherits is set in the Distillery district. Other Toronto players that you can spot include Toronto City Centre Airport, TTC streetcars and Front St. When Tommy takes a trip to scope out smaller Ohio communities he actually visits Port Hope and New Market.
If you're even somewhat a fan of this movie, chances are you've visited serendipity in New York City for their frozen hot chocolate and a look at the films namesake location. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but mostly shot in Toronto, on a soundstage. Serendipity was filmed mostly at Showline studios on Lakeshore and in one shot you can spot Markham Street, outside the Green Iguana.
This movie was actually filmed a little bit all over the place, including New York, California and our very own, Toronto. Although primarily shot in the US, Toronto's Old Don Jail makes a cameo in this risque 90s classic.
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Remember this movie? The movie based on 50 cents real life? About how harsh it was growing up on New York streets? Yeah, shot in Toronto. 50 cents character in the film lives on Carlaw Ave, while filming also happened at Wasaga Beach, Johns Norway Cemetery, Humber River Regional Hospital and a shootout at the corner of Bleecker Street and Howard.
Pacific Rim holds the title for largest film shot in Toronto to date and you may be surprised to know that the film wasn't entirely shot on a soundstage. While almost completely filmed at Toronto's Pinewood Studios, there are about 3 times that the film took to the streets of TO. Specifically they used Bluffer's Park as an Alaskan beach, Hearn Generating Station on Unwin Avenue as a wall in Alaska and a birds eye view of Nathan Phillips Square from the perspective of a giant monster.
Between Channing Tatum, Zac Efron and now, not one, but two Jake Gyllenhaal's Toronto gets to host a lot of great looking men. Now we know this film is set in Toronto so you probably know that it was filmed here but it's a whole new side of the city. The film uses yellowish filters on top of our gorgeous city to make it seem super creepy and we're not going to lie, quite depressing. The film shot at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus and features a shot of the Absolutely World towers in Mississauga.
Director David Cronenberg loves shooting in Toronto, in fact, we don't think he ever leaves. Cosmopolis, his 2012 film starring Robert Pattinson, takes place mostly inside of a car making it kind of difficult to know anything about where the film was shot despite being set in New York City. People went nutso when Robert was here filming in 2011, and twitter just about exploded when Kristen Stewart was spotted visiting the set. Filming took place at Bloor and Ossington, The Canon Theatre, Opera House, Union Station, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Yonge and Wellesley, Le Germain hotel and even though the film is set in NYC you can see the very tip of the CN tower in one shot. Oh, and everyones favourite late night eats spot, The Lakeview restaurant is the home of the films diner scene.