20 Blockbuster Movies You Probably Didn’t Know Were Filmed in Canada

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Many Hollywood movie fans know that The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, The Beach was filmed in Thailand and Buena Vista Social Club was filmed in Cuba, but few can spout off a list of movies shot in Canada. Many of the big-name flicks that have been filmed in the Great White North are actually set in the United States, so viewers leave the theater (or their La-Z-Boy recliner) without questioning the movie’s backdrop.

It’s time Canada gained recognition for the slew of famous movies that have been filmed on her land, and these 20 blockbusters are just a small portion of the many that have become favorites among North Americans and viewers around the globe.

#1. Titanic (1997)

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When the Titanic tragically sank in 1912, Halifax, Nova Scotia was the closest port to the catastrophe. The ocean scenes in the 1997 film, which was one of the most successful movies of all time, were shot very near where the 1912 event occurred. Over 100 victims of the Titanic are buried in Halifax cemeteries.

#2. Twilight (2008)

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Vancouver and a number of other locations throughout the Lower Mainland served as the setting for three of the four movies in the Twilight Saga. Forks High School in the Twilight films is actually the David Fraser Secondary School in Vancouver.

#3. Good Will Hunting (1996)

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This popular 1996 film was shot in Boston and Toronto over the course of five months. The movie’s famous classroom scenes were filmed at the University of Toronto and Central Technical School instead of Harvard and MIT.

#4. Mean Girls (2004)

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The 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls is set in Evanston, Ill., but a majority of the movie was shot in Toronto at Malvern Collegiate Institute and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.

#5. Billy Madison (1995)

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This 1995 comedy, featuring an all-star cast of famous comedians including Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Steve Buscemi, was filmed at Northern Secondary School in Toronto, John Ross Robertson Junior Public School in Toronto, the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa and several other locations around Toronto, Oshawa and Stouffville.

#6. Blades of Glory (2007)

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The city of Montreal played a large roll in this 2007 comedy starring Will Ferrell. The outdoor skating scenes were filmed at the Montreal Olympic Stadium, and the movie’s infamous chase scene was shot in Montreal’s Olympic Village.

#7. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

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The Incredible Hulk may look like it was filmed in New York City, but Toronto’s former mayor David Miller helped bring the blockbuster to his bustling city. Downtown Toronto’s Yonge Street was closed for four nights of filming, and because Mayor Miller was so accommodating to film crews, many of Toronto’s sites (like the Eaton Centre and the University of Toronto) star in the film.

#8. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Hollywood film crews didn’t have to travel all the way to France to film the “European” scenes of Catch Me If You Can. Montreal and Quebec City provided the European feel without the high production cost.

#9. Capote (2005)

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Capote may have been set in the Kansas flatlands, but it was actually filmed in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba. Popular Manitoba sites like the Manitoba Legislative Building, Gilbart’s Funeral Home and Stony Mountain Institution play a prominent role in the film.

#10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding — starring Canadian actress Nia Vardalos — was set in Chicago, but the filming took place closer to Vardalos’ home. Toronto’s Greek Town and a number of other downtown Toronto sites posed as Chicago so well, only attentive movie watchers were able to spot Toronto’s huge role in the film.

#11. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

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The Canadian Rockies served as the stunning backdrop for this popular 2005 drama. And although the movie was set in Wyoming, Calgary, Elbow Falls, Cowley and Fort Macleod are where much of the filming actually took place.

#12. Cruel Intentions (1999)

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Although this 1999 drama was primarily filmed in California and New York, Toronto’s Old Don Jail starred alongside an all-star cast including Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

#13. Rambo: First Blood (1982)

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This classic American action movie starring Sylvester Stallone was filmed in Golden Ears Provincial Park, Pitt Lake, Pitt Meadows and Hope, British Columbia. All of the extravagant firearms used in the movie had to be imported into Canada for filming.

#14. Taking Lives (2004)

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The 2004 thriller Taking Lives is one of few blockbusters that are actually set in Canada as well as filmed there. Montreal and Quebec City star alongside Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke and Kiefer Sutherland.

#15. Finding Forrester (2000)

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This popular American drama was set in New York City and was primarily filmed throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, but suburban Toronto and Hamilton were used for scenery and pick-up shots.

#16. Chicago (2002)

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Downtown Toronto has played the role of Chicago in a number of blockbuster films, and the musical Chicago is one of them. The film was almost entirely shot in the Queen City, and Osgoode Hall, Queen’s Park, Elgin Theatre, Union Station and tons of other Toronto locales played a big roles.

#17. Cool Runnings (1993)

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The 1993 comedy Cool Runnings is actually loosely based on the 1988 Jamaican national bobsled team, which competed in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Staying true to the real life version of the story, much of the movie was filmed in Calgary.

#18. One Week (2008)

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Joshua Jackson heads on the motorcycle road trip of a lifetime from Toronto to Vancouver Island in the feature film One Week. Canada’s breathtaking cities, prairies and mountain ranges star alongside some of the country’s most hilarious roadside attractions.

#19. Juno (2007)

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This popular Canadian-American comedy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007 with Canadian actress Ellen Page as the star of the show. And although the movie is set in Minnesota, it was actually shot in various locations throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and White Rock.

#20. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

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The Day After Tomorrow — an action-packed American disaster film — is the highest-grossing Hollywood movie ever to be filmed in Canada. Toronto and Montreal starred alongside other international filming destinations like Tokyo, Hawaii and Scotland.

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About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.

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