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If you live in Canada, you know that its geography is diverse and picturesque. So much so, that we often forget how to see it through the eyes of a visitor. Canada has every natural and man-made feature one could imagine. From rainforests, mountains, rivers, plains, and valleys, to ocean coastline, arctic tundra, and bustling cities. Perhaps that’s why so many location scouts choose Canada for their film sets. Cinema in Canada is a billion dollar industry, and one that continues to grow each year. It’s increasingly more common to recognise some familiar Canadian scenery while taking in a film. But have you ever wondered exactly where in Canada that location might be? Have you ever wanted to visit that location? Here are thirty of the best movie locations in Hollywood’s North.
The Revenant – Calgary, Alberta
Get used to seeing some Leonardo Dicaprio films on this list, it seems the Blockbuster hero and Oscar winner has shot a number of his finest films in the Great White North. But his latest effort in The Revenant showed off Canada’s incredible landscape like few films before it. The film was shot in Alberta in Kananaskis Country, Bow Valley, Castle Rock, Drumheller, and Dead Man’s Flats. In British Columbia, it was shot in The Sea To Sky Highway, Squamish Valley, and Burnaby. Here’s a guide to some of the locations.
Catch Me If You Can – Quebec City, Quebec
Before Leo was shooting The Revenant, he spent some time shooting in Quebec City for the Blockbuster, “Catch Me If You Can.” There’s a reason Montreal is colloquially referred to as European Vegas; beyond its Eurocentric culture, a lot of the architecture looks similar to cities and locations in Europe. Check out Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victories to see some locations from the shoot.
Titanic – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Okay, Leo. This is getting a little bit ridiculous. Halifax has a unique history with human catastrophe. Before the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the closest major seaport to the real life Titanic going down was in Halifax. Over a hundred victims of the wreck were laid to rest within the city limits. James Cameron would bring Leo and the rest of the cast to the city to film what would ultimately be the 1997 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Capote And Assassination Of Jesse James – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Selkirk, Manitoba and Winnipeg, Manitoba substituted as Kansas in the 2005 drama, Capote. Stony Mountain Institution, The Manitoba Legislative Building, and Gilbart’s Funeral Home feature prominently in the Oscar-winning film. The streets of Winnipeg were also featured in the 2007 film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. While historians believe the real life Jesse James spent a significant amount of time in Manitoba, it was The Exchange District in Winnipeg that was transformed into a Western town in the 2007 film.
Undercover Brother, Half Baked, And More – R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is renowned for their clean drinking water and it’s in large part thanks to the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. Constructed in an Art Deco style 1932, the cathedral ceilings, marble halls, and vast pools of water have earned this building the nickname, “The Palace of Purification.” Of course, it makes a great substation in cinema for an insane asylum, an evil lair, or a fortress. The building has been featured in Undercover Brother, Half Baked, Strange Brew, Robocop, and more.
Brokeback Mountain And Inception – Canadian Rockies, Alberta
The 2005 Academy Award winner and cowboy drama, Brokeback Mountain, was shot in the plains and mountains of Calgary, Cowley, Elbow Falls, and Fort Macleod in Alberta. Our boy Leo, Tom Hardy, and Ellen Page also made a stop to shoot the winter action scenes for the 2010 film, Inception, at Nakiska Ski Resort.
50 Shades Of Grey – Vancouver, B.C.
The 2014 drama, 50 Shades of Grey, was filmed almost exclusively in Vancouver, B.C. at Coal Harbour, Grey House, UBC, Ranier Provisions, Stanley Park, Ironworks Pub, and Vancouver’s Fairmont Hotel.
Silent Hill – Brantford, Ontario
In 2006, Brantford’s historic downtown was in the midst of revitalization when Christophe Gans, the director of the horror movie, Silent Hill, asked the city to pump the breaks. The old brick buildings, historical facades, and street lamps of Brantford’s downtown made the perfect eerie backdrop for staggering zombies.
Outlander – Bay of Islands, Newfoundland
Newfoundland’s Bay of Islands doubled as Norway in the 2008 American sci-fi action film, Outlander. While the film was a box office failure, it was hard to deny the striking beauty of Newfoundland’s jagged coastline.
I’m Not There – Brigham, Quebec
Who knew that a film depicting the life of Bob Dylan was filmed in Quebec in the cities and townships of Chambly, Montreal, Brigham, and Hudson? Principal photography took place in Montreal while much of the music festival footage was shot in Brigham.
Other notable films shot in Canada
Recent Academy Award nominee, Spotlight, was shot in Hamilton, Pickering, and Toronto Ontario. Another recent critically acclaimed film, Brooklyn, was shot in Montreal, Quebec, and Etobicoke. Box office hits, Pirates of the Carribean and Superman had notable scenes at Niagra Falls, Ontario. Check out the Wiki database of Canadian film locations.
Like this post? Check out How Do You Find The Most Scenic Spot In Canada? Ask A Canadian Director and TIFF Playlist: Movie-Themed Music To Kill Time In The Rush Line, too!