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Reel Toronto: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
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Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember how huge it was? No doubt you remember seeing how prominently the Danforth was featured, but did you remember the darned thing was supposed to be taking place in Chicago? Probably not.
Okay, most of the movie’s humour is a notch above sitcom level (though, ironically, a spin-off sitcom failed), but we must admit that in re-watching we did crack a smile or two. Plus, as always, we had fun recognizing local digs.


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If you’re making a Greek movie you need a Greektown, so off to the Danforth the filmmakers went and went and went. You can’t really miss the Pappas Grill, for starters, can you?
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You keep seeing it because it’s located across the street from the travel agency where our heroine, Toula, works. That location is at 439 Danforth Avenue and has changed hands a few times since filming. Last we heard, it was a boutique called Lustre.
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When the characters take a stroll outside you can spot other Danforth landmarks including Louie’s Meats and Pantheon.
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Sadly, if you want to dine at the family’s restaurant, Dancing Zorba’s, you’re out of luck. The interior is just a soundstage. The exterior, however, was shot at Simcoe and Pearl streets.
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After the titular wedding, the reception takes place at the gaudy Aphrodite’s Palace, but it may be more familiar to local diners as Ellas, just down the Danforth at Pape.
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As for the wedding, it (shockingly!) does not take place in a Greek Orthodox church. Instead, St. Nicholas Ukranian Church, near Trinity Bellwoods Park, was used.
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The exteriors, however, were grabbed at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church near U of T.
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One of the film’s most distinctive landmarks is the overly-Greek house in which the family lives. Owned by Paul Viaros, it actually exists, with relatively minimal modifications, on St. Clair east of O’Connor. (We came across this cool NY Times photo essay on filming at the house. Have a gander!)
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Early in the film, flashbacks recall Toula’s time as a schoolgirl. These were filmed at the historic Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.
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When she straightens out her life, she goes to school at Harry S. Truman college, actually played by Ryerson. You can spot the Gould Street Dominion through the windows of the Rogers Communications Centre here.
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More obscure is the Kerr Hall classroom where Ian teaches. The exterior of that high school, however, is actually Jarvis Collegiate.
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If this romantic Chicago bridge looks familiar, it’s because it’s actually at Harbourfront. You don’t have to look too far to find some lovely pictures of it.
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And, if we can arrive at an anti-climatic ending, John Corbett’s apartment is located midtown, at 5 Lonsdale Road.

Comments

  • cameronf

    Nice!
    See also My Big Fat Impersonation (National Post, 7 Sep 2002)

  • davidcreed

    The house where Ian’s parents live is on Amelia St, just east of Parliament.