Reel Toronto: Cold Creek Manor
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Reel Toronto: Cold Creek Manor

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.

Sometimes you watch a bad movie and just know everyone involved knew it was a stinker. On the other hand, sometimes you can tell that everyone was operating under the delusion they were doing something potentially brilliant. Such is the case with Cold Creek Manor, we suspect.

Before scoring a Best Director nomination for Leaving Las Vegas, Mike Figgis generally made the sorts of interesting-but-artsy films most people don’t go see in droves. After moving up in the world he decided to make even more experimental movies that most people still didn’t go to see in droves, but he did take one more shot at a mainstream flick along the way. Hence, Cold Creek Manor which (we think) tries to be sort of a thinking person’s haunted house flick. It isn’t, quite.

Being a haunted house type flick there are relatively few locations, but there’s sure as heck a haunted house. In this case, it’s Cambridge’s Cruickston Park, which we also saw in Red.

Going backwards a sec, the deal is that Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone live in New York but move out to the country to open a B&B in the titular abandoned manor. There isn’t very much “New York” to see, but of course they used Toronto for it. You can see the King Eddie in the background of this shot, on Toronto Street.

You can even see an OLG sign in the window of this shop. Nearly a decade later, it’s still there. If you’re particularly cinematically astute you recognize the young lady getting out of the car as future vampire bride…

…Kristen Stewart.

So, then they get out to the country. Unfortunately, their idyllic calm is shattered by the appearance of former resident and jailbird Shirtless Stephen Dorff. He starts renovating the house and things go all bad, dontcha know. (The film’s Wikipedia entry describes him as “an uncouth redneck.” That’s probably what the casting sheet said, alright.)

The small town near the manor is the real-life nearby community of Ayr. Here’s Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis strolling down the main strip, Stanley Street.

And here’s Dennis Quaid shopping at a hardware shop on the street, which is actually a florist.

You can see the old CIBC building down the street in this reverse shot.

The only other noteworthy location is this hospital, where Quaid hangs with his dad, played by our own Christopher Plummer. It’s actually Kitchener’s Freeport Health Centre.

Interestingly, the city’s records show them having shot at some other 416 locations, including on Lake Shore Boulevard and Community Centre 55 (the former East Toronto Town Hall) but we didn’t see any. The likely scenario is they shot some more “New York” material but then axed it so they could get to the “action” and “story” more quickly. Maybe there are some deleted scenes on the DVD? We don’t own it. You?

CORRECTION: May 16, 12:40 PM Centre 55 is the former town hall of the former town of East Toronto, not East York as we originally wrote.

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