Reel Toronto: Disney's Ice Princess

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Reel Toronto: Disney’s Ice Princess

The Disney family film hits all the formula beats and tours the town.

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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Here’s a stone-cold cinematic fact: two of the best figure skating movies ever made in the history of the world were shot right here in Hogtown. It’s true! Obviously, The Cutting Edge is your all-time examplar of the genre. But of course, there’s also Disney’s Ice Princess. Okay, true, it didn’t win any Oscars and, yeah, it just squeaks by with a 52 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but this is still the movie that won 20 awards—that’s every one of its nominations coming home to roost—at the 2005 Annual Teen Film/TV Series International Awards.

Besides, it’s not like we’re impressed by critical or box office success. We just care that it was shot here.

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Our main character is the adorably named Casey Carlyle, played by Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Michelle Trachtenberg. Like any good teenager, she goes to high school.

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This one is actually Central Tech.

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She lives in this picturesque small town—actually Millbrook, Ontario.

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You may recall that David Cronenberg shot A History of Violence in the very same town. Indeed, Ritzi’s diner here is actually this joint, Sylvia’s. That cafe also happens to be the exact same exterior shot of the diner Viggo Mortensen runs in A History of Violence (the diner interior was a set, however).

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Being an ice skater and all, girl’s gotta have a rink! The exterior here is the Legion Hall in Millbrook.

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The interior, however, brings us right back to the 416.

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It’s the rather impressive rink they have at De La Salle College (a.k.a. Oaklands) on Avenue Road. And if it isn’t Canadian actress Kim Catrall hanging out there!

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Casey and her mom head to this Harvard mixer thing, first walking down Queen’s Park Crescent

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…in this angle you can juuuuust see the legislature building over on the right, not to mention a TTC pole.

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Then they head into this fine building, which stands right on the corner of Queen’s Park and Wellesley, the Christie Mansion (now part of Regis College). And, yes, it’s that Mr. Christie who used to live there.

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It won’t shock you that the climax of the film involves a skating competition at a big arena.

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We’ve got some ESPN synergy going on, along with Olympians Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano.

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The rink is actually the Ricoh Coliseum.

So, it seems like your average, feel-good tweener ugly-duckling tale (like, she uses her computer to learn how to figure skate), but Roger Ebert thought it did a fine job breaking from convention. And did we mention it went 20 for 20 Annual Teen Film/TV Series International Awards? What more can you ask for?

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