Reel Toronto: Murder at 1600

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Reel Toronto: Murder at 1600

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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The title says it all here. Some chick gets killed at the White House and super duper police detective Wesley Snipes swoops in to solve the crime and save the day.
You’d have to be a really cheap production not to get the requisite shots of Washington D.C., but that doesn’t mean you can’t save a few bucks by shooting everything else in glorious Hollywood North.


First up is the White House itself. The Cinespace studios up in Vaughan actually have a standing White House set which was built for Warner Bros. for this and then used in Dick, The Sentinel and who knows how many other movies. Purty, ain’t it?
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Wherever in D.C. this dude is supposed to be living, he ain’t there. This home is actually #42 Maitland Street, near Church and Wellesley. Do these people on Google Street View live there or are they on a pilgrimage to places Wesley Snipes has been? You be the judge.
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Snipes hangs out at this black-tie affair, filmed in the Royal York’s lovely ballroom.
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The exterior, however is the Manulife Building on Bloor East…
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…and as he goes in you can even see St. Paul’s across the street.
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Secret Service agent Diane Lane helps him by checking out these archives, which are (surprise!) the City of Toronto Archives.
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Speaking of locations playing themselves, this autopsy scene was actually shot at Coroner’s Court on Grenville.
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Speaking of court (are you liking our segues?), this li’l mob scene was shot in front of the courthouse at 361 University Avenue. Note the vintage CityTV truck.
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But the inside of police headquarters is actually the Frost Building South on Queen’s Park Crescent. It’s the big curvy one on the east side of the legislature, dontcha know.
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This bar scene was shot at Bathurst’s historic Paddock Tavern and Wesley’s big head is blocking Dennis Miller as his wisecracking pardner.
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This lovely office building is the Ontario Heritage Centre on Adelaide Street. You can recognize its distinctive windows…
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…and the detailing in the lobby area.
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When Lane’s character goes rogue, she has a clandestine meeting at the Garden Gate diner on Queen East
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….and holes up at the Hillcrest Motel.
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The Piccadilly Circus seems to now occupy the club where this scene was shot. Back in ’97 Snipes’s detective was lingering outside the Venus nightclub, and you can see sign in the back (and the one for Filet of Sole) as Snipes dashes across Pearl Street, at Duncan, here.
For a Toronto-shot thriller, Murder at 1600 isn’t all bad. But be warned: this is the kind of movie where a detective actually says, “I don’t give a shit who you know, you’re going downtown!”

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