We’re Not That Different, You and I: Films And TV Shows Shot On The Danforth

Every time I hear that a movie or TV show is being filmed in Toronto, it’s always a little bit of a surprise. Maybe because movies are often set in locations like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles (and many more) but are actually being filmed in Toronto. When they film in Toronto and pass it off as a certain part of America, I can’t help but feel a little proud. Toronto may be a less expensive filming location than its American counterparts, but it’s definitely beautiful enough to feature in Hollywood productions. Many places in Toronto have been featured in blockbuster films, but in this article I’m only going to focus on the ones that have been filmed on the Danforth.

 

IT (2017)

I don’t usually watch horror movies, but for those of you who do, this is an exciting revelation. The creepy haunted mansion featured throughout the film is actually the Cranfield House on the corner of Pape and Riverdale. Pennywise’s stomping ground is depicted as terrifying in the movie, but it isn’t all that creepy in real life, and is actually a historical landmark that is worth visiting. It was built in 1902 and was home to William Harris. He was an industrialist who operated a meat packing plant at Danforth and Coxwell. The Salvation Army then turned it into a safe place for single mothers.

The film crew caused quite a stir and the house has become a new local tourist location. It would be best to go check it out now, as there will soon be new structural additions that will serve as condominiums.

 

The Perfect Man (2005)

I loved this movie. I know some people might not have enjoyed it, but I loved the fact that Holly is a blogger and lives in New York with spiraling fire escapes adorning her building. She gets into all sorts of trouble to give her mother a happy life, which I thought was endearing. Her intentions are selfish at first, but as she begins to realize all that her mother has sacrificed for her and her little sister, Zoe, she turns things around. There was only one place on the Danforth that this film featured and that was Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, which doubled as their high school in Brooklyn. The scene when Hilary Duff is going up the stairs and meets her friend Amy was filmed here, as well as the scene where her future boyfriend, Adam, gives her a comic strip to keep.

 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

This movie has become a well-loved classic over time. It gained popularity slowly, but it was popular enough to elicit a sequel released in 2016 called My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

Everything about this movie is Greek. Authenticity is key, from the house being modeled after the Parthenon to the food Toula has grown up eating. Her family owns a Greek restaurant called Dancing Zorba’s and everything they do is according to Greek traditions, including the fact that Toula’s family is concerned with her being thirty and unmarried.

Even though the movie is set in Chicago, many places on Danforth Avenue in Toronto were used. The Mount Olympus Travel Agency is right across from Pappas Grill, and Corso Shoes can be seen when Ian is goofing off in front of the agency’s window. Using Greektown as a part of a film that highlights Greek culture was a great move on the filmmaker’s part.

photo by Michaela Wong

 

Chicago (2002)

The Academy Award-winning musical Chicago, which took the world by storm, was partly filmed on the Danforth. For this American crime-comedy-drama, based on the stage play of the same name, the Danforth Music Hall played a special part. It was certainly used for the scene where Roxie auditions, but you’ll have to take a closer look in other scenes to determine if it’s the Danforth Music Hall—thus is the magic of set dressing. Nevertheless, that at least a part of the Danforth makes an appearance in the film is still a great easter egg.

 

Degrassi (1987–1991)

We’ve all heard about this show somehow or another in our lives. It’s been around for so long, and reboots of the show are made as new generations of fans are born. But the original, filmed in the ’80s and ’90s, used the Centennial Story Arts Centre on Carlaw Avenue as Degrassi High. As a student who spends a lot of time on this campus, it’s fun to guess which classrooms were used, or imagine the scenes where you can see the lockers in the background.

photo by Michaela Wong

 

And that about covers it. Everything in this article was like an adventure for me as well, and I hope you have as much fun reading all the interesting movie trivia as I did writing about it. Thanks for reading… that’s a wrap!

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