22 Blockbusters You Never Knew Were Filmed in Canada

By Brent Smyth

While Canada may not have its own version of Hollywood, many blockbusters choose their northern neighbours to film key scenes and even entire movies! Whether to save money or the incredible scenery, here are the top 22 films to have been shot in Canada, and just wait for 16 and 21.

#1- Titanic (1997)

During the true sinking of the Titanic in 1912, Halifax was the closest port to the catastrophe, and the first to receive the distress signal. The ocean scenes in the film, which was in 1997 the most successful of all time- were shot near where the 1912 event occurred. In Halifax today over 100 victims of the sinking are buried near the port.

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#2- Twilight (2008)

Forks High School in the Twilight films in real life is the David Fraser Secondary School in Vancouver. Throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver play host to the setting in three of the four movies in the series.

(The Hollywood Reporter)

(The Hollywood Reporter)

#3- Good Will Hunting (1997)

Shot in only five months, this movie was created in Boston and Toronto, and all the movie’s famous classroom scenes were filmed at the University of Toronto and Central Technical School, not Harvard and MIT.

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#4- Interstellar (2014)

While a solid ¾ of the film is in space, the initial farm scenes and opening locations are all found in Alberta. Including Calgary, Canmore, Okotoks, Fort Macleod and outlying areas.

(MTV UK)

(MTV UK)

#5- Mean Girls (2004)

Set in Illinois, a majority of the movie was shot in Toronto at Malvern Collegiate Institute and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, and the famous Jungle mall scene was shot in Etobicoke, in Sherway Gardens.

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#6- Inception (2010)

Truly a movie of international locations, inception takes place in England, Morocco and France. However the Fortress Mountain Ski Resort in the Canadian Rockies at Kananaskis, just outside of Calgary served as the snowy mountain fortress sequence, the deepest dream level.

(Rolling Stone)

(Rolling Stone)

#7- Billy Madison (1995)

Sandler’s character in the film progresses through all the grades of school, and the movie itself progresses through quite a few locations in Toronto, including Northern Secondary School, John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa and several other locations around Toronto, Oshawa and Stouffville.

#8- Blades of Glory (2007)

Putting the city’s Olympic history to use, the film used the Montreal Olympic Stadium for the outdoor skating scenes, and the movie’s signature chase scene was shot in Montreal’s Olympic Village.

(El Parana)

(El Parana)

#9- IT (2017)

The remake of Stephen King’s clown horror finds its home in Port Hope, Ont. The local Queen Street Tattoo parlour was transformed to Derry Ice Cream for the film.

(Pop Geeks)

(Pop Geeks)

#10- The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Seemingly filmed in New York City, for four nights in downtown Toronto Yonge Street was closed for filming. And because of how accommodating Toronto’s mayor at the time had been, the Eaton Centre and the University of Toronto also play a role in the film.

(Mental Floss)

(Mental Floss)

#11- Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Instead of flying to France for the European scenes, film crews travelled to Montreal and Quebec City to avoid breaking the bank while still getting the european feel.

(Nerdist)

(Nerdist)

#12- The Neverending Story (1984)

Although most of the movie was shot in Germany, the alleyway Bastian finds himself chased into is Vancouver’s Blood Alley in Gastown. And at the very end of the movie, Flying Luck Dragon Falcor does a Vancouver fly-by.

(Time Out)

(Time Out)

#13- Capote (2005)

It may have been set in the flatlands of Kansas, but Capote was instead shot in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba. Some notable sites to see are the Manitoba Legislative Building, Gilbart’s Funeral Home and Stony Mountain Institution, which plays a prominent role in the film.

(Mental Floss)

(Mental Floss)

#14- My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Starring Canadian actress Nia Vardalos, the film may have been set in Chicago, but the filming didn't draw Vardalos far from home. A number of downtown spots including Toronto’s Greek Town played home to the film.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#15- Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Although set in Wyoming, it is clear the Canadian Rockies are the breathtaking backdrop seen in the film. Sites where the filming actually took place include Calgary, Elbow Falls, Cowley and Fort Macleod.

(The Ace Black Blog)

(The Ace Black Blog)

#16- Chicago (2002)

Iconic Toronto locales such as Osgoode Hall, Queen’s Park, Elgin Theatre and Union Station all had roles in the film, and Toronto has frequently played the part of Chicago in blockbuster films, and this musical was no exception.

(Addicted2Success)

(Addicted2Success)

#17- Cool Runnings (1993)

Loosely based on the 1988 Jamaican national bobsled team that competed in the Olympics in Calgary, this movie stays true to its real-life counterparts and had a majority of its filmign done in Calgary.

(Hollywood Reporter)

(Hollywood Reporter)

#18- Juno (2007)

Although set in Minnesota, Juno was actually shot in various locations throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and White Rock, and this American-Canadian comedy has gone down as a Canadian classic.

(Hollywood Reporter)

(Hollywood Reporter)

#19- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

The highest-grossing Hollywood movie ever to be filmed in Canada, this American action film finds its locations in Toronto and Montreal, as well as globally in places such as Tokyo, Hawaii and Scotland.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#20- Total Recall (2012)

Using the aid of CGI, Guelph, Ont. was converted into a post-apocalyptic London, and Toronto location such as the  University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus and Roy Thomson Hall stood in for stations within the planet’s internal transit system, The Fall. Total Recall remains one of the largest budget films shot in Toronto.

(PLay

(PLay

#21- American Psycho (2000)

Considering the word ‘American’ is in the title, don't be alarmed when it is revealed Bateman’s office is in the TD Centre, serving as a substitute for the Seagram Building in New York City, which were both designed by architect Mies Van der Rohe. Additionally, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, The King Edward Hotel’s Consort Bar, The Senator diner and several more of the city’s now-defunct restaurants and clubs played host to Patrick Bateman and his friends on film.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#22- The Revenant (2015)

Shot in Alberta, the winter it was being filmed proved difficult for the crew, as the snow started to melt before production was complete. This forced the final fight scene in the film to be shot in Argentina. Also due to the odd winter, Burnaby, B.C. was used for a few scenes.

This piece was edited by Isabelle Kirkwood

What Distinguishes Canada’s West Coast Cuisine?

By Isabelle Kirkwood

(Tourism Vancouver) 

(Tourism Vancouver) 

I think Ontarians often feel cocooned by their province’s vast population in comparison to the rest of Canada. However, as a Vancouverite and avid West Coast Best Coast flag-bearer, I’d like to take a bit of time to bring light to a distinguished yet often overlooked subculture of Canadian cuisine. This neck of the woods has crafted a distinctive chow in a corner of the world where you don’t need to worry about the temperature, where the great Pacific meets the coastal temperate rainforests of beautiful British Columbia.

Our food scene isn’t too dissimilar to that of Ontario, as Chef Makoto Ono of Pidgin restaurant in Vancouver says, “There’s no east vs. west, there are no egos. It’s the only way to make Canadian cuisine happen.”

Now, mind you, that’s a very pacifist, Canadian response to the frank question: “Who does it best, east or west?” And although every corner of the country has its own culinary magnum opus, I’d like to take some of your time to sample my own turf’s gastronomy. That’s right, the best eats from the saltwater hub, the city of glass, the Hollywood north, Vancouver, B.C.  

It saddens me that Vancouver is now widely known as the “No Fun City.” Besides the endless supply of ocean and wilderness at your fingertips, let it be known that we come with some pretty good grub. Also, eh hem, it doesn’t always rain. We have actually have mostly sunny days.

I’ve learned that Vancouver cuisine, although ever-evolving, comes down to three principle F’s: Fish, Freshness and Fare to Share.

1. Fish

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Many of Canada’s major cities lie quite far inland, which makes fresh fish hard to come by. Vancouver lies at the mouth of some seriously lucrative wild salmon migration routes; from Chinook to Coho, to Sockeye and a medley of other subspecies. Let’s also not forget the mussels, oysters, Dungeness crab and spot prawns that are local to the area. Now, my ex-vegan conscience weighs heavy on me here, but I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say fish is a staple of West Coast Canadian cuisine.

Actually, one of the first restaurants I worked at was The Salmon House; a fine dining establishment overlooking the whole Fraser Valley all the way to Mt. Baker, serving salmon in any form you could imagine; in an omelet, a spring roll, even in a cobb salad. Give us a fillet and we’ll find a way.

Many of Vancouver’s top Michelin-star restaurants make fresh-caught fish the cornerstone of their menus. Our cuisine is also heavily-influenced by east-Asian dishes; believe me, even Tokyo doesn’t consume as much sushi as we do in Vancity. Whether you like it sashimi-style, grilled, poached or pan-fried, you’re at no shortage of fresh and delicious fish when you’re out west.

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2. Freshness

I think most Canadians hold the view that Vancouverites are snooty, so hopefully, I’m not indulging that stereotype too much here. West coast cuisine is without a doubt committed to organic, local and responsibly sourced ingredients. Menus will often list the farm, fishery, artisan or butcher responsible for the elements on your plate at any given eatery.

Maybe it’s because we’re surrounded by impressive mountains, lush rainforests and briny ocean, but whatever it is, we’re pretty environmentally-conscious here on the west coast. This means that we like to make sure our nosh isn’t hurting the planet. Vegetables are often grown in the Fraser Valley, seafood is accompanied by an Ocean Wise mark of sustainability and our meat is nose-to-tail. So, whether I’m humouring the health-nut sugar mommies of West Van or the hippie-vegans of the Island, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Canadian West Coast prides itself on fresh and sustainable food.

Top Chef Canada finalist Trevor Bird is the head chef and owner of Fable  - a restaurant donned by a catchy take on the term “farm to table.” Fable makes sourcing local products and delivering great flavours in a fun and non-pretentious setting its main mission.

“I like to think ‘farm to table’ is not a trend anymore,” Bird says. “Nobody wants to go into these big chain restaurants anymore, everyone wants independent restaurants, and each of those independent restaurants has their own unique style. Nobody wants the norm.”

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3. Fare to Share

This has been a new and exciting discovery for me as a West Coaster, as Vancouver is often known for not really having a distinctive “culture” like Toronto and Montreal do. But to my surprise, share plates, charcuteries and tapas are slowly becoming hallmarks of Vancouver fare.

What this city does best is polished food with chill vibes. Our most upscale restaurants, such as Nightingale, owned by celebrated chef David Hawksworth, zeroes in on the combination of fresh ingredients on shared plates. Vancouver is a hub for business magnates and laissez-faire millennials alike, and you’ll find that these two worlds often collide in the laid-back yet chic dining rooms of our restaurants.

Hong Kong native Curtis Luk is chef at Vancouver’s Mission Kitsilano.

“I like the diversity of sharing,” he says. “You can have a lot of tastes without feeling the need to commit to a single plate of food, and, obviously, if you want more, you can always order more. You can try a bit of everything.”

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I’m proud to say that Vancouver is a pretty international city, so we borrow much of our own cuisine from those abroad by integrating the best of the nations around us into the heart of our own diverse yet budding dining culture.

There are many reasons why you need to venture out to the west coast if you haven’t already: world-class skiing, hiking, biking and surfing, the unforgettably gorgeous landscape, the coastal mountains, the wildlife. But don’t forget the delicious food while you’re here… be sure to make it a part of the journey!

This post was edited by Sukaina Jamil.