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World Film Locations: Toronto (2014)

by on 2014/06/15

World Film Locations Toronto (2014)

World Film Locations: Toronto may prove useful in an ongoing endeavour, to convince my fellow Canadians of the virtues of my home town. As echoed time and again on our blog, for me there’s just “something” about Toronto. It’s as close as I come to faith, a sense of devotion not yet overcome.

Perhaps it was meeting the actor Don Lake (Terminator 2), while filming at a local school yard. He’s since gone on to feature in the beloved films of Christopher Guest’s don’t-call-them-mockumentaries series. At the time, however, I knew him only vaguely from ads and SCTV. Yet here he was in person, in my neighbourhood, delivering the magic of showbiz. I remember him as gracious and engaging, duly signing whatever I proffered.

Not so warm was a later incident with an actor I still grudgingly respect: Al Pacino brushing past me with a snarl, on the set of Sea of Love. Who did he think he was, this ruffian, intruding on my territory?

If I read significance into these encounters, I find multiple views of Toronto, and alternate angles on film production itself. It’s a complex place, a confusing business, and not at all easily sorted. With this site, I’ve edged my way toward a Canadian content resource, as filtered through my experience and interest. With time and distillation, I’ll eventually form more opinions, even if I never reach a true conclusion.

It’s akin to the writings by a group of film fans, edited by Tom Ue. Their collection shares my fascination, employing a highly visual approach. The series of grouped essays surveys many facets of Toronto in film, such as district, history, identity, tropes, and so on.

I discovered the book at the Don Mills Library, whose contributor Fiona Luck, gave a lecture which soon evolved into a sprawling group celebration. Despite — or because of — technical snafus, our imaginations ran rampant with questions, personal anecdotes, and various glamourized suggestions.

The book is not exhaustive in its catalogue of titles, but it needn’t be, and it’s full of great surprises. For every personal favourite missing, there’s another I didn’t expect, or reminders of things already known and forgotten. It’s much like a portable coffee table collection. Pick it up in search of specifics, hop around randomly, look at photos, scan maps, read essays, or work through a particular topic.

For me, it lends some validation to everything we’ve reviewed. For others, it may yet win them over to the charms of a city they’re unsure of, delivered via the pleasures of big-screen entertainment.

It’s available now in paperback and ebook formats.

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