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Reel Toronto: The Santa Clause

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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Ho, ho, ho, good readers! Did you know that not one but two Christmas classics were filmed in this fair burg? We’ve previously profiled A Christmas Story which was shot in Toronto and around the Golden Horseshoe, and this time we’re going a bit more modern with the GTA-friendly Disney flick, The Santa Clause.
Like the X-Men films, they went all West Coast for the sequels but this first one — you know, where Tim Allen finds himself turning into Santa Claus — was shot here.


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It’s mostly Oakville playing the role of an Illinois town. Here, for example, the main drag is played by Oakville’s main drag, Lakeshore Road (the camera appears to be here, around Thomas Street).
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Swiss Interiors is among the stores that are still there that you can spot as the camera pans by.
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A bit more Oakville here, at Navy Street.
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One of the main settings is the house where Tim Allen’s character’s wife lives. It’s right here, on Carey Drive.
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You can see a wider shot of it from the big finale, here. (As we did with Scott Pilgrim, we’ll add the caveat that real people live here so if you’re planning to rent a schoolbus and do a Santa Clause tour with all your buddies, be respectful.)
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But fear not, there’s some love for the 416 too! Denny’s isn’t quite the phenomenon here that it is in the States, but this did used to be a real Denny’s in Scarborough. As you can see, the Ellesmere-Markham location has since changed hands.
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School scenes were shot at both John Ross Robertson and Blythwood Public Schools and since there are no particular visual clues we’ll just guess that this classroom is the former…
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…and this principal’s office is the latter.
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Where could this lovely park be, we wondered.
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Well, this close-up shows it’s got to be Toronto, what with all those bike posts.
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Actually, it’s Hillcrest Park. You can see the house behind Tim Allen here.
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Exciting trivia: Santa’s reindeer were played by reindeer from the Toronto Zoo. This scene, watching the polar bears, was shot there.
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We know they shot something at 320 Bay Street (that’s the Canada Permanent Building, with the impressive entrance), so we’re guessing it’s these law offices.
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And a location we haven’t really seen before, this police station is actually the Runnymede Chronic Care Hospital.
All in all, The Santa Clause deserves props for doing a very solid job disguising that it wasn’t shot in the United States. It’s nice to know Toronto’s given just a little something back in the ol’ spirit of the season.

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