Toronto offers plenty of sights and attractions that you won’t find in any typical guidebook. If you’re a movie-buff, no doubt the most attractive of these will be the many Toronto locations that have been immortalised on film. Particularly in the last decade or so, Toronto has been a favourite among filmmakers and set designers looking for eye-catching, unique locations in which to shoot their movies.
Though it was set in New York, American Psycho was shot almost entirely in Toronto, Canada. Of course, a few shots were genuinely filmed in the Big Apple to establish the setting of the story, but, for the most part, all of those stand-out locations of the film can be found sprinkled throughout Toronto.
Though it’s closed now, there used to be a watering hole in Toronto called Shark City, located in the Yonge-Eg district. If you remember a scene from American Psycho in which Patrick Batemen dumps his fiancée, Reece Witherspoon in a restaurant – well, that’s Shark City.
If you want somewhere that you can still visit today, then head to the TD Centre. This was used in the movie to represent the exterior of Bateman’s office. The camera pans up its length to mirror the height and majesty of a New York City skyscraper, and at the end of the film we even get to see inside the lobby of the TD Centre, when Patrick shoots the guard and heads up the elevator to his office.
X-Men was filmed in 2000 and was one of the first superhero movies in the latest trend that’s led to 2012 films such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man. While the film’s scenes were set all over the world, it was actually mostly filmed in Toronto.
A scene featured in the film shows us a debate in the US Senate about whether or not mutants should be licensed; the interior of this building is actually Toronto’s Metro Hall. The lighting used in the film makes the Hall look pretty different, but it’ll still be recognisable if you feel like dropping in.
The Xavier Mansion is also a memorable scene, and the exterior of the mansion is actually Oshawa’s Parkwood Estate, which lies just on the outskirts of Toronto whilst Casa Loma was used for many of the interior shots.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the one film on this list that is actually set in Toronto; the locations seen in the film are all chosen to match the locations of the book as closely as possible.
Casa Loma is used in the film, just as it’s been used in many films before; a hallway in Casa Loma now contains posters from some of the many films that have shot scenes there. As a popular tourist attraction in its own right, it’s no surprise that Wright wanted to use one of the most iconic Toronto buildings in his film. In Scott Pilgrim vs the World they hat-tip how frequently this location is used in films; when Scott and Ramona go to the castle a movie is being shot there starring one of Ramona’s ‘evil ex-boyfriends’.
There are also a lot of mundane, everyday locations used in Scott Pilgrim. Scott and Knives pick up books from Wychwood Library, and Knives attends school at St. Mike’s.
Just like American Pyscho, Kick Ass is another movie which pretends that Toronto is New York. It does it quite well, too, but not well enough that some of Toronto’s most distinctive locations can’t be teased out of the film.
The scene where Kick-Ass beats up on some thugs outside a doughnut shop is set just outside the Dip ‘n’ Sip on Kingston Road in Toronto, and the school that the characters attend in the film is actually Sir Winston Churchill SS, located just outside Toronto.
One of the most recognisable shots, of a nameless superhero standing atop a very tall building at the beginning of the film, is actually quite obviously filmed from the top of Toronto’s golden RBC Building, at Wellington and Bay.
Dawn of the Dead
Toronto was also used as the backdrop for the remake of Dawn of the Dead. This maybe doesn’t get the city quite as much credit as the original film would have done, but it’s still pretty cool.
Sarah Polley’s home is actually filmed around the Brampton and Caledon areas of the city, and the abandoned mall that our group of survivors get stuck in is actually Thornhill Square, a real-life abandoned mall at the time of shooting which has recently been renovated and expanded. So, now you all know where to head when the Zombie Apocalypse hits Toronto.