Where the Daniel Radcliffe Rom-Com The F Word Was Filmed in Toronto
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Where the Daniel Radcliffe Rom-Com The F Word Was Filmed in Toronto

Finally, a romantic comedy that Toronto can call its own.

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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Peruse Reel Toronto’s back catalogue of 200 or so stories, and you’ll find the number of films in which the city plays itself is very low indeed. That makes every such film a bit special, and if it’s a fun film to watch, so much the better. Slowly but surely Toronto does seem to be getting a cinematic face of its own, and The F Word sits nicely alongside Take This Waltz and the more fanciful Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as a snapshot of young, hipster Toronto, presented in glorious widescreen.

It’s interesting to compare The F Word to Take This Waltz. Whereas Take This Waltz is mostly situated in the city’s west end, The F Word gives the east side the spotlight. And while Take This Waltz is characterized by Sarah Polley’s brutal emotional honesty, The F Word sees writer Elan Mastai and director Michael Dowse go for a crowd-pleasing rom com comparable to the likes of When Harry Met Sally and (500) Days of Summer. And The F Word makes the city a postcard-perfect backdrop as surely as those other films do with New York City and Los Angeles.

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We could spend this whole column talking about the lovely establishing shots of the city, the first of which appears during the opening credits. It’s hard to believe this glowing and bustling city is the same place depicted in Enemy.

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It’s actually a noticeable difference from films that have come before…

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…as even Scott Pilgrim showed the CN Tower only in the film’s final moments, and Take This Waltz revealed Toronto’s beauty mostly at ground level.

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What Bathurst Street was to Scott Pilgrim and College Street was to Take This Waltz, Queen Street East and the Leslieville/Beach area is to The F Word. Daniel Radcliffe’s character, Wallace, likes to hang out on the roof…

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…of his house on Brooklyn Avenue.

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He’s got a nice view from up there.

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We also spend some time shopping just down the street on Queen East…

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…at Holy Cow.

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Naturally, there’s some summertime chilling…

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…at Kew Beach.

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We couldn’t help but notice they went to the trouble of swapping in an old-school Canada Post box. We appreciate that level of verisimilitude.

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Next year Adam Driver will appear in Star Wars. This year, he appears in a movie in which there is a poster from the Rheostatics’ final show on his wall. Can you get more Toronto than that? Not without a major character wearing some of Spacing‘s subway buttons you can’t.

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Ah, well, there you go then.

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Back at the Beach, there’s also a nice little scene where Adam Driver drunkenly heckles the kind people lawn bowling at the Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club.

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His character’s apartment is back on the other side of the Don River, on Gloucester Street near Church Street.

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Zoe Kazan’s character, Chantry (see, we told you: hipsters!), has a sharper apartment. The exterior view is on Metcalfe Street…

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…and it’s this building, in Cabbagetown.


But the interior is definitely somewhere else.

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She’s got a Starbucks out her window…

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…and also a Dovercourt bus stop, which means she’s living above The Great Hall. Sweet. (Click here and scroll down to see pictures of the hall’s “Conversation Room,” which they dressed as the apartment.)

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She spends her time out and about at some hipster haunts…

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…knitting at the Purple Purl

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…and dress-shopping at this Ross Mayer outlet, which now appears to be gone, but which used to be on Bathurst Street.

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More shopping here in Chinatown…

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…not on Spadina Avenue or Dundas Street West, but rather at Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East.

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After first meeting at a party, the two halves of the would-be couple run into each other at a screening of The Princess Bride

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…playing at College Street’s Royal Cinema (which, incidentally, also appeared in Take This Waltz)…

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…and then stroll west down the street.

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The couple goes for some deep-fried pickles…

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…at the George Street Diner

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…which also appears in a later key scene during daylight hours.

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After this lovely establishing shot of Riverdale Park…

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…we find our main characters getting coffee at the Rooster Coffee House

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…and then strolling along Broadview.

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They also spend a fun night together that includes hanging out at this bar, actually at Polson Pier…

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…walking past Dundas Square…

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…and enjoying some ping pong at Spin Toronto.

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Here we have a beautiful evening and a bonfire down below the Scarborough Bluffs.

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And this may seem all romantic, people, but it’s totally illegal! It’s a violation of section of the city fire code, for starters. You need a permit to use a fire pit, and there are no legal fire pits at the Bluffs.

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Also, skinny dipping? Yeah, no. Hanlan’s Beach is the city’s designated clothing-optional beach. Everywhere else, you have to wear clothes. So feel free to watch and enjoy this movie, but remember: you live in Toronto the Good, and this story is fictional. You don’t wanna be violating City by-laws!

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Anyway, back on the water we have this beautiful wedding, shot at a nicely dressed-up Polson Pier, which we saw in a different context earlier.

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This bar where Radcliffe and Driver commiserate…

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…is Riverdale’s The Comrade.

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It’s not your imagination, by the way: Driver is wearing a Habs shirt.

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There’s also a kid wearing Canadiens PJs and, as far as we can recall, no one wearing any Leafs paraphernalia. There may be some passive aggressive Leafs-bashing going on here.

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The two pals also go jewellery shopping at Anne Sportun

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…and stroll down Queen Street West after.

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And because why not, they also enjoy some time watching kids practise karate at the Jimmie Simpson Community Centre.

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Chantry’s cool, exposed-brick office…

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…is out on Wellington Street West.

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It’s not quite to scale, but it shows how invested the moviemakers were in Toronto as the location…

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…that Evan B. Harris (who also did the little bits of animation in the movie) mocked up this map of its universe. (You can see the full image here.) Someone should get Brian O’Malley to do a similar map for Scott Pilgrim and sell them at the Spacing store, dammit.