In this special edition series, and inspired by a reader’s suggestion, Reel Toronto looks at just a few of the classic (and less-classic) music videos filmed in our fair city over the years.
Well, we’re just about caught up on three full decades of Toronto music video history. Videos might not quite be the rage they once were, but we are still seeing some solid stuff—not the least of which if REM’s “Man-Sized Wreath.”
It’s probably not the biggest video here, but this 2008 clip might be the one shot by the biggest act, and it’s one of the most creative and cool-looking. (The local connection is Crush Inc., a Toronto design firm and studio.) It’s much funkier than the other videos here, and well worth watching for the sheer joy of seeing locations like the Gardiner Expressway and Dundas Square get a unique makeover. You can read more about the concept here.
Did you know our own Marc Lostracco once worked with Miley Cyrus’s dad? It’s true. Back in the days when line dancing ruled, so did Billy Ray Cyrus, and if “What Else Is There?” isn’t quite the slice of musical genius that “Achy Breaky Heart” was, we can all agree it’s probably not Lostracco’s fault.
Our old friend the Distillery District does much of the duty here; the main location is in what’s now the Stone Distillery. You can even see a GO Train go by, though the grassy knoll below it has since become a parking lot.
Mel C (a.k.a. Sporty Spice) filmed most of the video for “Understand” on one of our very own subway cars. She came to town in 2008 to perform at Pride and attend the MMVAs, and you can see a lot of footage from both events here too.
The pop doesn’t stop there, folks. Kelly Clarkson filmed “Already Gone” within the lovely, Art Deco confines of The Carlu.
If Clarkson isn’t diva enough for you, maybe you’ll be impressed by a little lady named Celine Dion. Between her time conquering the planet with the sheer force of her voice, hanging in Vegas, and pumping out kids, Celine (well, her video crew) swung by the then-nearly-finished Terminal One at Pearson to shoot “You and I.”
More locally, Melanie Doane’s “Happy Homemaker” borrows the premise of Run Lola Run, but moves it to the east side of downtown. It was largely shot around the Dundas and Jarvis area, and you can see this pizza shop, Dalhousie Street’s Metta Housing Co-op complex, and the former Sears building in the background, among other landmarks.
(Also, does that secret agent guy at 1:49 look like he could be Rob Ford or are we imagining things?)
And we’ll end off with the Moffatts, who you surely erroneously remember as being the same band as Hanson. They’re not. But these tuneful youngsters know a nice vista when they see one, and the video for “Misery” was shot on Olympic Island and includes some lovely skyline shots.