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culture

Toronto City Hall Is in a Video Game

War on the Car? At video-game City Hall, the cars make war on you.

Who hasn’t occasionally had to fight the urge to crash a sports car into council chambers? Thankfully, a British video-game developer has made it possible to do so without risking jail time.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted, by UK-based Criterion Games, was released for a number of different gaming platforms at the end of October. It’s a racing game where the player has to drive really fast in order to escape police pursuit. The official trailer shows cars hurtling through a fictional city called Fairhaven, which serves as the game’s setting. Somewhere in Fairhaven is the reasonably accurate model of Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square featured in the video above.

Major differences between video-game City Hall and real-life City Hall include the fact that the game version has a giant drive-through tunnel in place of the floor of council (some would say that’s an improvement). Also, the reflecting pool is completely dry and you can drive over the tops of the Freedom Arches. Oh, and the entire place is in pristine condition, and not covered with construction hoarding and equipment. Totally unrealistic.

This isn’t the first time City Hall has found itself somehow implicated in a nerdy piece of entertainment. It was famously blown to radioactive smithereens in Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and once made a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Metro Hall, a little ways down John Street, was a major setting in the X-Men movie.

It’s not clear how City Hall ended up in Need for Speed, or why. We’ve sent an email to the developer in the hopes of finding out, and we’ll update when and if we get a response. Thanks to Reddit Toronto for digging this up.

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