What Makes Toronto Such a Good Location for Hollywood Films and Shows

Toronto has long been a favored destination for Hollywood filmmakers.  The city has consistently stood out as an ideal location for a wide array of movies and TV shows. Its diverse landscapes, architectural versatility, and rich cultural tapestry provide filmmakers with a dynamic and adaptable backdrop.

At the time of writing this article, Guillermo del Toro’s “Frankenstein” is being filmed in Toronto, as reported by blogTO. The film features a star-studded cast, including beloved Hollywood stars Andrew Garfield and Oscar Isaac.

Besides, according to Curiocity, “The Apprentice” is also being filmed in Toronto. This biographical film follows former US President Donald Trump’s early career as a real estate businessman in New York in the 1970s and 80s.

All that being said, there’s no doubt that Toronto is a magnet for Hollywood productions of all scales. The question is, how did this city in Canada manage to earn this reputation? Let’s find out.

Architectural Diversity

Toronto boasts an eclectic mix of historical buildings, modern skyscrapers, and unique structures that can convincingly mimic various global settings. This versatility is a major asset for filmmakers who need to capture different eras and locales within a single shoot.

Take, for instance, the film “American Psycho”. According to Indie88, this movie, starring Christian Bale, utilized Toronto’s diverse architecture to recreate the gritty atmosphere of 1980s New York City. The movie used Downtown Toronto as the primary shooting spot to mimic NYC’s fast-paced and busy environment.

Similarly, the Oscar-winning film “The Shape of Water” benefited from Toronto’s historical buildings, which provided the perfect backdrop for its 1960s setting. This architectural range allows Toronto to serve as a stand-in for numerous cities around the world, making it a practical and cost-effective production choice.

Cost Efficiency and Incentives

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, Toronto offers significant financial advantages for film and television productions. The city, along with the province of Ontario, provides a variety of tax incentives and rebates that reduce the overall cost of filming.

Although just for Canadian productions, these financial incentives can be pivotal in a production’s budget, making Toronto an attractive alternative to other major cities. Hollywood productions, to gain such financial benefits, also tend to work with Canadian corporations that can secure tax incentives.

In addition to tax breaks, the Canadian dollar’s favorable exchange rate compared to the US dollar often results in substantial savings for American productions. This economic efficiency, combined with Toronto’s professional film infrastructure, makes it a highly appealing location for filmmakers aiming to maximize their budgets.

Versatile Urban Landscapes

The versatility of Downtown Toronto’s urban landscape is another factor that makes the city so appealing to filmmakers. With its blend of bustling streets, quiet neighborhoods, and expansive parks, Toronto can convincingly represent a wide array of settings. This adaptability is crucial for productions that require diverse backdrops within close proximity.

Movies filmed in Toronto, such as “American Psycho”, have successfully transformed the city’s streets into the likeness of New York. The ability to shoot in varied environments without extensive travel simplifies production logistics and reduces costs. Besides, Toronto’s efficient public transportation system and well-maintained infrastructure make it easy for crews to navigate the city.

Iconic Landmarks

Toronto’s skyline is punctuated with iconic landmarks that lend themselves well to cinematic storytelling. The CN Tower, one of the most recognizable structures in the world, is frequently featured in films and television shows. Its striking presence not only adds visual appeal but also instantly situates the audience within a recognizable urban environment.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, a film that celebrates Toronto’s unique character, prominently showcases several local landmarks, including the CN Tower and the Toronto Public Library. These recognizable Toronto locations not only anchor the film in its authentic setting but also contribute to the narrative’s charm and appeal.

Professional Film Industry Infrastructure

Toronto’s well-established film industry infrastructure is a significant draw for Hollywood productions. The city is home to world-class studios, sound stages, and post-production facilities that can accommodate the most demanding projects. This robust infrastructure ensures that filmmakers have access to all the necessary resources and support they need to bring their visions to life.

The presence of experienced local crews and talented actors also adds to Toronto’s allure. Productions like “The Shape of Water” and the TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” have benefited greatly from the city’s skilled workforce. Toronto also hosts several prestigious film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). This underscores the city’s status as a global hub for the film industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are TV shows filmed in Toronto?

TV shows are filmed in Toronto due to its diverse architecture, which can mimic various cities, and generous tax incentives. Toronto also offers a skilled workforce and state-of-the-art production facilities.

Why are New York shows filmed in Toronto?

New York shows are filmed in Toronto because its diverse architecture can effectively mimic New York City. Besides, Toronto offers significant cost savings through tax incentives and lower production costs.

Where was “The Umbrella Academy” filmed?

Set in a city that’s believed to be New York, “The Umbrella Academy” was actually filmed in Ontario, Canada. The primary locations were in and around Toronto and Hamilton.

In summary, Toronto’s appeal as a filming location is undeniable. From its architectural diversity to its iconic landmarks, the city offers a wealth of resources and advantages that attract Hollywood productions. Toronto continues to shine as a versatile and vibrant backdrop for movies and TV shows.

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