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, in 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
designated 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
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
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
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!