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Historic Places At the Movies!


Canada is a ready-made location for filming. Every historic place in the country has its own unique story, architecture and value which contribute to our heritage and identity. It's no surprise that Hollywood filmmakers seek out Canada's built heritage for their movie masterpieces. From large estates, to train stations, to small-town theatres, many of Canada's historic places have graced the big screen.


In fact, some of Ontario's historic places have attracted big-name directors and producers. Rob Marshall's Academy Award-winning musical Chicago, was filmed at several national historic sites in and around Toronto. Gooderham and Worts Distillery was transformed into 1920s Chicago for many of the exterior scenes in the film and various scenes showing the famous murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart were filmed at Parkwood Estate, X-Menin Oshawa. X-Men, based on the classic superhero comic book, was also filmed in the Toronto area. The exterior shots of the private academy were filmed at Parkwood Estate and the train station scene was filmed at Union Station. You can see the barrel-vaulted ceiling, constructed in the Beaux-Arts style, before it gets destroyed in an exciting action sequence!

Film makers have also been drawn to locations in the Canadian prairies as ideal settings for Westerns and cowboy movies. Brokeback Mountain, the award-winning film about a relationship between two cowboys, was filmed in part at the Territorial Court House in Fort MacLeod, Alberta. In addition, the Hoodoos, a Brokeback Mountaindesignated group of stone columns and caprocks near Drumheller Alberta, can be seen in Unforgiven, a Clint Eastwood movie about a retired Old West gunslinger. Winnipeg hosted the cast and crew of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This film, about the famous outlaw Jesse James starring Brad Pitt, was filmed at both the Walker Theatre and the Pantages Playhouse Theatre.

British Colombia has also hosted its share of film crews. Many Hollywood movies have been filmed in and around the Vancouver area, particularly at the Gastown Historic District. The NeverEnding Story, the classic children's film from 1984 about a boy who dives into a fantasy world through the pages of a book was filmed at this location. Eclipse, the third film in the extremely popular Twilight saga, was also filmed here. Across town, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a recent movie about a traveling theatre company, was filmed at the Orpheum Theatre.

If you watch closely, you can recognize the 1920s architecture of the theatre in the charity gala scene. Craigdarroch Castle, one of the most elaborate mansions in western Canada, is another ideal filming location. Situated in Victoria BC, this mansion was used to set the 1994 adaption of Little Women. The unique "bonanza castle" architecture of the site can be seen in this Oscar-nominated film.

Taking LivesQuébec offers a creative backdrop for filmmakers. Taking Lives, an action-thriller about an FBI agent who helps Montréal police catch a serial killer, starring Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke, was filmed in the Arrondissement historique de Montréal. Many locations within the district, which spans 1,400 metres along the St. Lawrence River, can be spotted in this action-packed suspense story. The film also includes a spectacular aerial shot of the Chateau Frontenac and the Arrondissement historique de Québec.

Canada is home to over 12,000 distinctive historic places of provincial, territorial and national significance. The unique architecture and heritage of Canada's historic places have drawn movie makers - and their audiences - to the region. If you look closely, you may recognize one of Canada's historic places the next time you head to the movie theatre. Don't forget your popcorn!