10 Famous Movies You Didn’t Know Were Filmed in Canada
As the go-to destination for Tinseltown's big budget productions, Canada has always been ready for its close-up—even when it's doubling for another location!
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
One of the most iconic movies filmed in Canada was this groundbreaking 2005 drama starring Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. You guessed it, Brokeback Mountain was shot in Alberta’s majestic Rocky Mountains. Calgary, Cowley, Elbow Falls and Fort Macleod all masqueraded as Wyoming! The cowboy romance was celebrated at the 78th Academy Awards, winning three Oscars: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.
This critically acclaimed Truman Capote biopic was shot primarily in Winnipeg, with additional scenes captured in Selkirk, Manitoba. While the story of the In Cold Blood author is set in Kansas, the film’s producers selected Manitoba as the American city’s stand-in. Stony Mountain Institution, the Manitoba Legislative Building and Gilbart’s Funeral Home star prominently in this Oscar-winning flick (Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor).
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Real-life catastrophe and movie magic are intertwined on Canada’s east coast in one of the most famous movies filmed in Canada. In 1912, when the Titanic was ripped apart by an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, Halifax was the closest major seaport to the disaster. Despite feverish rescue attempts, few survivors were pulled from the frigid waters and over 100 victims were laid to rest in Halifax cemeteries. When James Cameron began production on his 1997 epic, he brought his cast and crew to Halifax. The city would once again play a role in the story as Cameron shot the film’s harrowing ocean scenes aboard the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.
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Mean Girls (2004)
Toronto often doubles in movies for American cities—for Mean Girls, the 2004 high school comedy written by Tina Fey, the city morphed into Chicago! Sherway Gardens, the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall, Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, and Malvern Collegiate Institute all played host to rising stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried.
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Calling all Twihards! Come to British Columbia and follow in the footsteps of Bella, Edward and Jacob. Three of the four movies in the Twilight saga—New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn—were shot in various locales around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, including David Fraser Secondary School (appearing as Forks High School), Minnekhada Regional Park and the Ridge Theatre. Of all the movies filmed in Canada, Twilight is most memorable for its distinctly Canadian forestry and green landscapes.
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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Canadian actress Nia Vardalos didn’t have to look far for the perfect filming location for her 2002 box office smash hit. Toronto’s Greektown along Danforth Avenue appears prominently throughout the movie, and if you watch carefully, you’ll also spot downtown’s Ryerson University and Jarvis Collegiate Institute. The Canadian locations posed as Chicago for Vardalos’ story, but eagle-eyed film buffs could easily recognize Toronto’s charms peeking through the silver screen.
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Good Will Hunting (1997)
Despite being one of the most famous Boston-set films in recent memory, Good Will Hunting was actually mostly shot in Toronto! The University of Toronto’s campus prominently stars as both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively, while a few classroom scenes were filmed at Central Technical School.
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Although set in Minnesota, this Oscar-winning comedy-drama was actually shot in and around Vancouver. Along with the Canadian filming locations, Juno also boasts impressive Canadian talent on both sides of the camera: Elliot Page was born and raised in Halifax, Michael Cera is a native of Brampton, Ontario, and director Jason Reitman hails from Montreal!
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Catch Me If You Can (2002)
It seems like Hollywood has long caught on to Montreal’s famous “European feel.” Case in point: Catch Me If You Can. This biographical crime film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks used the city as a stand-in for various areas in France. The Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Old Quebec City, meanwhile, was used as the setting for a pivotal scene.
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American Psycho (2000)
This controversial cult classic does an incredible job of using Toronto as a stand-in for New York City. Toronto-Dominion Centre is used as the office building of main character Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). American Psycho‘s dance club scenes were shot in the Phoenix Concert Theatre, while Toronto pillars The Senator and the Omni King Edward Hotel’s Consort Bar double as one of the many restaurants the film’s characters frequent.
Now that you know the greatest movies filmed in Canada, check out our list of the best Canadian movies ever.