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Reel Toronto: Last Night

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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Last Night is that rarest of birds. Not only is it unabashedly set in Toronto, it’s good! Even people outside of Canada saw it! And liked it!
It’s so cool that, in a total case of serendipity, we were working on this for you last week with no idea Edgar Wright was going to screen it as part of his film festival at the Bloor the other night. He even had Toronto’s resident Renaissance Man, writer-director-actor Don McKellar, drop in for a cameo appearance.
What all this adds up to is the fact that people all around the world have seen the above shot, which is basically the poster image. This particular derailed streetcar was shot on Victoria Street, just south of Adelaide.


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You can see the old-school Adelaide Street sign better in this shot.
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That running lady keeps going throughout the whole movie and while we can’t promise we got every location she and this movie hits, we did our best.
At the end, she runs by a whole bunch of apartment buildings like the ones seen below. They’re all in North Toronto, on Erskine and Roehampton avenues.
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So, Yonge/Eg gets a shout-out, but the bulk of the filming was done out in the Weston Village area. Here, for example, you see Don McKellar and Sandra Oh walking past the Weston Station Restaurant at 1935 Weston Road. Apparently, the beauty salon didn’t want any crank phone calls.
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It took a lot of detective work, but we’re pretty sure that this is Weston Medical, right nearby by Lawrence Street. Come on, that site could have said “Veston” and we had to be sure!
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McKellar gets dropped off by his parents near his apartment, apparently located on Lansdowne at Queen Street.
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Sandra Oh makes the mistake of leaving her car to hit a grocery store. Shifty folk start to surround it here, on John Street (the one in York, not downtown)…
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…but when she comes out and finds it uproopted, it’s at Hanna Florist. Now, our old friend Google gave us multiple addresses for this place, but we think it’s this one, at Dupont and Lansdowne. (We’re eagerly waiting for the Google street view to come online!)
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David Cronenberg, in a relatively rare acting turn, plays this gas company dude who is thoughtfully calling everyone to let them know they will keep the service running right up ’til Armageddon. This grey office might look a bit 1984 to you, but it was shot in the lobby (and on the second floor, obviously) of Mowat Block, provincial government offices at 900 Bay Street.
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While the vast majority of shooting seems to have been confined to downtown and to the west, they headed way out west to grab this recital scene, not at the fictional Petrolia Theatre, but rather at Mississauga’s Hammerson Hall.
We can’t often recommend you sit through the films we’re investigating here but if you’re a Torontoist reader and have not seen Last Night, get thee to a video store (or a library, or whatever)! The film was apparently an influence on Shaun of the Dead, so what more do you need to know?

Comments

  • http://null bbpsi

    “McKellar gets dropped off by his parents near his apartment, apparently located on Lansdowne at Queen Street.”
    This might rank as excessively nitpicky, but it you stared at that for a few minutes in confusion like I did, trying to work out the location, it’s more precisely on Macdonell looking south-east on the corner of Queen and Macdonell.

  • http://www.bitpicture.com Marc Lostracco

    I love this movie, but it reminds me of once when I mildly embarrassed myself. Not too long after the film had been in theatres, I was in a waiting lounge at LaGuardia Airport and Don McKellar was there, so I thought I’d tell him how much I liked the film.
    So I introduced myself, and then I said, “I just wanted to let you know that I really thought First Night was fantastic.”
    He dryly replies, “I didn’t like it as much as some other Sean Connery movies.” (He was referring to First Knight.)
    Snap. There was no real way to redeem myself, but it was funny in retrospect.

  • http://null Cobalt

    I’ll be even more nitpicky by saying McKellar is dropped off by his sister (Sarah Polly) and her boyfriend, not by the parents. They were all coming from the last visit with the parents though, so likely it’s their parents car.
    I adore this movie, and it came out around the same time that a few big and loud FX Hollywood “end-of-the-world” flicks were released…. so it was really great to see a decidedly more lo-key Canadian approach to the subject.

  • http://fleischmarket.blogspot.com/ David Fleischer

    Darn you nitpickers, I shall have my revenge!
    Aha – it’s Sarah PollEy! There, I’ve had it.
    I forget why was sure that was Landsdowne – there was probably a store in the background I Googled only to have Google Maps locate said business slightly off the intersection. But I was only off by a block, so I can live with that if you can.
    And that’s a great McKellar story, Mark. I still have to think you are one very few people to approach him in an airport and even attempt to offer a comment on the film – not for lack of quality.

  • http://undefined Solex

    Sorry, but like most Canadian movies, this one is overrated, low-budget trash. Too bad we can’t make any action films like the Yanks do-then we’d really have a successful film industry. I’d rather watch Exit Wounds and all of the other American movies that you dissed than this one.

  • http://undefined rek

    Feel free to watch as much American garbage as you want, nobody’s going to stop you. The Canadian film industry seems to be doing quite well without aping typical American fare, and the recent spate of actually advertising Canadian fare (Pontypool, One Week, Victoria Day) suggests things are on an uptick even with the lack of explosions.

  • http://undefined spacejack

    Got to agree with rek here. I saw Last Night recently. Going in I thought I’d have the same reaction as Solex, but in fact the movie was really good. No it’s not an action-based apocalypse film, but I doubt it would’ve had the budget for that. They did exceptionally well with what they had.

  • http://undefined rek

    I was with you until “with what they had”. It’s a good movie, period.

  • blearghhh

    Ok, I know this article is several years old, but…

    I’m pretty sure, now that Street View is online, that the Hanna Florist in that shot is not at 1444 Dundas, since even though that is now a brand new building, the other buildings in the area don’t match up. Nor does the Dodge dealership you can see in the reflection of the window.

    It’s also not at 3136 Dundas, which is the other address the Google gives me.

    So it’s a mistery.