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.
So, here we are. Another average, big-time Hollywood film that treats our hometown like so much innocuous background. Damn you, Hollywood! Mr. Magorium isn’t a terrible movie, but it sure is mediocre, especially given the front-of-camera talent here.
The titular Wonder Emporium (arguably the main reason to see the flick) is actually a set built at Cinespace, but they do occasionally venture outdoors…
The cutesy shop exterior was plopped in between a couple of skyscrapers on Wellington Street.
When you look at this down-the-street view you can see a bit of the Metro Hall square on the right and the CBC building on the left. That would seem to place them right about here, near Emily Street. (Roy Thomson Hall is set just far enough back to be out of sight.)
These trains behind a magic door in the shop were actually filmed at the Model Railroad Club of Toronto.
Do we need to get into the plot? Hopefully not…Dustin Hoffman is quirky, and then he dies, and the shop’s magic goes away until it comes back again at the end. There. The point is that he’s a real life-affirming kind of dude, which is why he takes Natalie Portman to jump on beds at this mattress store. In 416 Reality, it’s the Goodwill on Coxwell.
They also go for a goofy dance at Allan Gardens!
They make a phone call from Union Station!
And then they hit the Beaches (sorry, “The Beach”)…
…for an ice cream.
Towards the end of the flick a disillusioned Natalie Portman plays some piano in the lobby of the Royal York. And then what? The magic comes back, everyone’s happy and…yeah, that’s about it.