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Reel Toronto: Billy Madison

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.
The first of the Adam Sandler mega-hits, and one of the stupidest movies ever made: it’s Billy Madison! Oh, it may be one of the great, funny-stupid movies, but to paraphrase one of the movie’s funnier bits, you may feel dumber for having watched it, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Oh, and it was shot in and around Toronto.

The most prominent location is Oshawa’s Parkwood estate which we’ve seen in a kajillion things, like X-Men. It plays Billy’s mansion from the front…
…and even shows off its lovely gardens.
But its front gates must suck, because they drove all the way to King City’s St. Augustine Monastery to capture its picturesque front door, way up on Keele Street.
Hey! Isn’t that respected playwright, director, and actor Hrant Alianak? Yes. Yes, it is.
Billy enjoys hanging out with his pals (Marco! Polo!), and they have a bite at what used to be called C & W Burgers, and what’s now known as C & Dubbs, way out on Dundas Street East.
Right, so Billy goes back to school and he goes to several over the course of the film, so multiple local schools were used for filming. This one…
…including the rear yard, home of the famous dodgeball scene, is John Ross Robertson P.S. How great is this scene? So great that Adam Sandler really wanted the kids to cry when he really hurt them. Now, that‘s funny.
His high school, however, was mostly shot at Western Tech. You see the front…
…and the back. Some interior scenes were apparently shot at Northern Secondary
…but the auditorium scenes in the finale were shot back at Western Tech.
Hey! Isn’t that respected actor and Emmy winner Bradley Whitford of West Wing fame? Yes. Yes, it is. Amusingly, he also played a sleazebag in the Toronto-shot Adventures in Babysitting. This town must have a real soft spot in his heart.
At least there’s some Farley going on. He plays a bus driver who takes the class to a pioneer village–type place.
And, guess what? You know that classic scene where the kid pees himself and then Sandler also pretends to pee himself and you can’t help but love the big lug? Yeah, that was filmed at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
There you go: another proud moment in our cinematic history.

CORRECTION: OCTOBER 4, 2013: Following a great deal of discussion by several comments, we agree that the elementary school we did not identify, pictured twice above, is actually John Ross Robertson P.S. Also, thanks to those who pointed out the finale in the auditorium was shot at Western Tech, not Danforth Tech. We’ve corrected the information above.


  • http://undefined shepoosclothes

    billy’s first school was filmed at john ross robertson elementary school on glengrove. my cousin was in grade school there when they were filming the movie. check out the front of the school in google images for confirmation.

  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    I can confirm what shepoosclothes said. I was in grade 2 at JRR at the time it was shot there.

  • http://undefined Coren Kollector

    That is indeed JRR in North Toronto – both the exterior and the schoolyard. You can see Glenview in the background.

  • David Fleischer

    Good call on the school, folks.
    I assumed it was two different schools because the addition on the back looks much more modern than the front, but it helpss when you can see the whole thing.

  • John Semley

    Billy passed the third grade,
    O! What a glorious day/
    Billy passed the third grade,
    The Billy Madison way, yeah

  • http://undefined FLIPster

    The penguin was played by Keith Cole.

  • HD Closed Captioning

    I had no idea that he X-Men lived will Billy Madison. That is cool. I wonder who else lived in that house?

  • David Fleischer

    The list of fictional residents at the house is fairly long and impressive.
    The real original resident was the president of GM Canada.

  • Karen Whaley

    I, of course, had to confirm that and not only is it true, Keith Cole also has played the Polkaroo!

  • http://undefined broletariat

    The auditorium scenes in the finale were shot at Western Tech, not Danforth… just saying!

  • kelly tyson

    the elementary school is John Ross Robertson

    • Andrew

      Both the front and rear shots of the school (including the famous dodgeball scene) were at JRR Elementary School

  • Allie

    I heard the elementary school was General Mercer Public School.

    • Emma

      When I had taken camp at JJP, during movie night, they showed us this movie. They had said that the movie was shot at General Mercer as well. But looking at the pictures, it doesn’t look like General Mercer. So they either lied, or they did record in General Mercer, but maybe inside the class rooms? Who knows..

  • Guest

    They told us it was General Mercer as well when I was a kid.

  • Matt

    I heard they shot at General Mercer Public School as well. The heck?

  • jamie

    That elementary school is DEFINITELY John Ross Robertson. You can even see part of Glenview Senior Public school in the dodgeball scene.

  • Lauratkd

    Wrong. Every high school scene was filmed at Western Technical Commercial School. Nothing was shot at Northern and Danforth Tech.

    I know because I have been attending Western Tech for the past three years and some teachers were extras and they know. Also other movies were filmed there to. You should delete what you said and correct it.

    • Torontofilms

      You need to check your facts. Imdb states fan forth tech is the debate scene at the end and northern was used also. I think every school wants to claim they were the one, but it seems there were many.