Hollywood in our backyard

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With its diverse architecture, Toronto is the scene of major film productions

Who hasn’t watched a movie and imagined themselves in the scene? This is because some Hollywood film sets and TV series make us want to live the life of their characters, if only to discover some lovely places such as parks with breathtaking scenery, luxurious restaurants, castles or buildings and homes with unique architecture.

If you live in Toronto, Ontario, feeling like a character in a film is easy because you can stroll through Hollywood scenes in your own city. The city was and still is a set for famous films, not only because of its beauty but also because there are credit concessions, tax flexibility and other incentives offered by Canada.

Recently, you could walk downtown, especially on Yonge Street and see crews filming scenes from the movie “Batman, Suicide Squad.” The list of films with Toronto as their backdrop is long.

“The F word” is one of the movies that, in addition to famous actors such as Daniel Radcliffe (the famous “Harry Potter”) and Zoe Kazan (actress of the film “It’s Complicated”), features another star: Toronto. During the course of the couple’s romantic story, various backdrops can be seen. There are many cafes, parks, beaches, and restaurants in the film, such as Riverdale Park. In the summer, the park is a meeting place for soccer and baseball fans, or even those who want to relax and take in the magnificent view of the city. Other salient points are: The Royal Cinema, Kew Garden and Boardwalk, Scarborough Bluffs and Bluffers Park, Cherry Beach, Polson Pier, East Chinatown, Yonge and Dundas Square.

The latter is one of the most common scenes in many productions because downtown Toronto has many buildings and streets that resemble New York. In “Incredible Hulk,” there are scenes from inside the Eaton Centre. Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), is chased and cornered by troops in a shopping walkway. At other points in the movie, you can recognize the Financial District and the University of Toronto.

The romantic comedy  “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” shows places in Greektown.  After all, this is a film that talks about Greek traditions, so it portrays restaurants, cafes and shops located on the Danforth. The house of character Toula Portokalos’ family (Nia Vardalos) is farther away from Greektown, at St. Clair East and O’Connor. The house underwent some changes for the screen, but it is certainly worth seeing  the architecture and garden up close.

Casa Loma, one of the city sights, is also used as a filming location. In the film “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” some shots are taken inside the house, with its neo-Gothic style and stunning gardens. Originally the mansion was a residence of financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Frequently visited by tourists as a historical landmark, the “castle” also appears in several other films. In the same movie, we can see bars, cafés and restaurants from Bloor Street and TTC points.

It is not only in the movies that Toronto can be seen. Some series, including “Being Erika” were recorded here. Some episodes were filmed in Victoria’s College, Union Station, Yorkville’s Rock/Park, Knox College and Toronto Islands. Another recent series is “Suits.” The show takes place in a law firm in New York, but of course, we recognize downtown Toronto in some scenes.

For those who love popcorn and a good movie, it is worth re-watching some movies that were filmed in Toronto: Superman II, Chicago, X-Men, Good Will Hunting, The Price of Betrayal, The Duplicate Man, Fantastic Four, Mean Girls, Cocktail, and Spider Man.