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.
INT. WALT DISNEY PICTURES BOARDROOM – DAY
Two EXECUTIVES sit at a table poring over a big pile of scripts.
EXEC 1: These are terrible! If we can’t find something great we’ll lose our jobs!
EXEC 2: Wait, I think I found something! Listen…it’s about a Navy SEAL, a bad-ass killing machine.
EXEC 1: I’m hooked, keep going!
EXEC 2: This super-important guy he has to protect dies or something so he has to watch over his wife. And, get this: he has to babysit all these kids. He’s totally, completely out of his element.
EXEC 1: Wow, that’s crazy! Wait…it does sound a bit like Kindergarten Cop.
EXEC 2: No, this is totally different. And I know just the guy to play the SEAL.
EXEC 1: DeNiro? DiCaprio? Hopkins?
EXEC 2: Two words, my friend. Vin, effing, Diesel.
EXEC 1: Yes, yes, yes! My God, yes! As soon as I saw him in Pitch Black I said this kid needs to be in a family-oriented comedy. Sign him up! We can be shooting this thing on the backlot in two weeks.
EXEC 2: No, not Hollywood. I’m thinking we need to go international and there’s only one city that can handle this kind of production. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
EXEC 1: I’ll call Air Canada right now. We’re going to Toronto!
EXEC 2: This will be our gift to the world: The Pacifier.
EXEC 1: I love you. I always have.
What more is there to say? The Pacifier takes full advantage of Toronto’s fancy shmancy Forest Hill neighbourhood. For example, the house he’s babysitting in is located there.
The school the kids go to is the fashionable Forest Hill Jr. PS. You can see its relabelled front…
Maybe you want to say you sat on the same seesaw as Vin Diesel? Well, you can by visiting the playground beside the school here, just off Spadina Road.
The gym, however, was actually shot in the almost-as-tony Lawrence Park CI.
Later in the movie there’s a car chase, part of which zips along Chaplin Crescent, by the Forest Hill Memorial Arena…
…but most of it was shot along this stretch of Browns Line.
Closer to downtown, we get one of the film’s few amusing jokes, in which Vin follows one of the kids to a back alley where he meets up with other kids dressed as Nazis. Well, it turns out they’re all starring in a production of The Sound of Music. It’s being directed by Scott Thompson (apparently doing Jon Lovitz directing Oh, Streetcar!)…
…and the scenes were shot at Theatre Passe Muraille.
Another wee chase scene zips along High Park Avenue, right by the Czechoslovak Baptist Church.
The film is supposed to be set in Bethesda, Maryland, and we guess they have big-box stores there. Well, we do too, but these Costco scenes were done out in Mississauga, on Rodeo Drive.
So is this bit at the now-defunct Woodie Woodchucks.
Back downtown, this building is supposed to be an embassy or a bank or something (you try paying attention to the third act of a Vin Diesel comedy!) but it’s actually 120 Bloor Street East.
That is more than all you need to know about The Pacifier, unless you just came back from a screening of The Tooth Fairy and are seeking out more classics of the genre…