Student’s Choice: 4 Canadian Movies Set on Campus

Every year, hundreds of movies are filmed in Canada – American, European as well as local. Among the most popular Canada’s settings are its beautiful universities – most often, the screen-famous University of Toronto. You can see it even in high-profile American movies like 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”! 


Why do producers film in Canada? There’s a number of reasons, such as the following:


  • Money. It’s simply cheaper to film there; 


  • Local crews. It’s always possible to find reliable professionals near the locations; 


  • Scenic views. Canadian settings are really amazing! 


These advantages are utilized by the international movie industry to a full extent. But there are also local productions – and they too use their home settings. Still, if American movies are widely known, Canadian ones are not so easy to remember. 


Here, we’ll do justice to the domestic movie industry and offer you a list of Canadian productions where local campus settings shine. 


By the way, the interesting facts from this article, the students will be able to use in their next essays about movies. And if one may need some help with assignments – the professionals at https://ca.essaypro.com/ are always there to lend you a hand! 


But let’s move on to our list.


Anne of Green Gables (1985) 


Location: Victoria University, University of Toronto 


source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Vic_in_UofT.jpg


This Canadian television drama is the first in a series of four films depicting the life of fictional Anne Shirley and based on a best-selling novel of the same name. Anne, the title character, is a Canadian icon and an example of how powerful will, intellect, and a strong spirit can really make a difference. 


After losing her foster parents and being sent to an orphanage in Nova Scotia, Anne travels to Prince Edward Island to her new family – only to learn that the expected to see a boy, not her. However, she convinces the family – the owners of Green Gables farm – to keep her. 


She then gets into a lot of small trouble due to her unruly character. Still, the character ends up being one of the two brightest students at Queen’s College. Yet, the college scenes were actually shot at the University of Toronto’s Victoria University campus. 


Polytechnique (2009) 


Location: Collège Ahuntsic 


The notorious “Montreal massacre” – a 1989 mass shooting at École Polytechnique– became a basis for this 2009 Canadian drama film. The film tells the story in black and white to avoid showing red blood on the screen. 


This film was obviously not meant to be a box office success – its production cost over five times more than it had earned. But the film touches a lot of disturbing subjects like gender inequality and the feeling of guilt. It received numerous honors, including nine Genie Awards, notably Best Motion Picture, and was featured in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. 


The filming mostly took place at Collège Ahuntsic and Collège de Maisonneuve, both located in Montreal. In fact, the original crime scene, École Polytechnique de Montréal, gave the crew permission to film there. However, the director decided against it out of respect for the victims. 


Men With Brooms (2002) 


Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus


“Men with brooms” are the ex-players of a curling team who reunite to play once again in the memory of their late coach in this purely Canadian romantic comedy. The four team members, now adults with their own problems, struggle to reconnect. They fight their personal issues in a manner that’s both comic and heartwarming. 


The film was a commercial failure, but it’s nevertheless fun to watch. Plus, it features one of the most renowned people in the Canadian film industry – Paul Gross – as a director, a screenwriter, and an actor. 


The location used in this film is the good old “U of T” – particularly its Scarborough Campus. 


Brooklyn (2015) 


Location: McGill University, McConnell Engineering Building

source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:McConnell_Engineering_Building_2007.jpg


“U of T” is the most popular University location for filmmakers in Canada – but there are others, too. Brooklyn, an English-Irish-Canadian 2015 romantic historical drama based on the 2009 novel of the same name, is where we can see Montreal’s McGill University. 


The film tells the story of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish woman who travels to Brooklyn to find a new life on the American coast. Brooklyn cost $11 in production and grossed the moderate $62 million. Yet, it was highly praised by the critics upon its release and was ranked 48th on BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century. 


Brooklyn, despite its name, was filmed mostly in Montreal, “because it resembles 1950s Brooklyn more than present-day Brooklyn”. After her arrival in NY, Eilis attends night classes at Brooklyn College, and these were depicted by McGill McConnell Engineering Building.




Listed above are the most widely known and praised Canadian productions (or co-productions) where the local campuses were used as filming locations. 


Be it the famous “U of T”, Montreal’s McGill or Collège Ahuntsic, the campuses of Canada always provide perfect settings for movies. They offer just the right atmosphere – even if they don’t get to “play” themselves and have to “pretend” to be some other places!


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