Reel Toronto: Spotlight
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Reel Toronto: Spotlight

Nominated for six Oscars, the Boston-centric movie owes its shooting locations to Toronto.

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‘Tis the season of the Oscars and it’s been a while since our fair city had such a prominent role. Room was not only shot here, but it won the coveted audience award at TIFF. Spotlight, another multiple nominee, despite being awash in the Boston-ness of its setting, was also largely filmed here.

Not since Good Will Hunting (itself the earner of some Oscar gold), has a film so deftly used local locations while pretending to be Beantown. Thanks to a bit of assistance turning this around so quickly, we have the scoop on where they shot.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, some of this might constitute minor spoilers though, like, it’s a real story that broke 14 years ago, and all. But you’ve been warned!

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So, as you probably know, the story concerns the team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe who exposed the sytematic abuse of children by priests in Boston, and the church’s cover-up. Obviously this exterior is really the Boston Globe

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…but this newsroom is a very extensive set, built at the old Sears facility on Islington Avenue. Yes, the same one where Fordfest once took place.

On a sad note, those cubicles once housed Globe and Mail staff. The Toronto-based paper sold 100 of them to the production for $5,000, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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The film’s opening scene takes place in a police station…

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…which we also see a bit from the outside, complete with a Toronto street sign there in the back. We’re actually inside an outside the old 11 Division, in the Junction, on Mavety Street.

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Another deceptive interior/exterior here as Mark Ruffalo chases Stanley Tucci down State Street, in Boston…

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…and then they find themselves inside 69 Yonge Street.

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The pair also has a dinner here, at Carlton Street’s Golden Diner.

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But the reporters also move in more powerful circles. This Catholic Charities gala…

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…was filmed at the Royal York Ballroom.

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Michael Keaton meets with its president…

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…at the Park Hyatt’s chi-chi Roof Lounge …

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…and meets with a former schoolmate not actually in Providence, Rhode Island, but at the Bay Street Mercatto, with the Trump Hotel visible across the street…

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…and with a lawyer pal out on the greens of the Scarboro Golf and Country Club.

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Not one to be enjoying any particular four-star hotel…

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…Keaton also breaks bread with Liev Schreiber at the Hilton’s Tundra.

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At the other end of the scale, Mark Ruffalo’s character is sent down to Miami to cover a 9/11 story but in real life the actor only got to venture as far as the Pickering Comfort Inn.

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Another local eatery that gets some brief Hollywood love is Caffe Brasiliano.

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When Ruffalo and local gal Rachel McAdams, who received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for this role, go hunting for court records…

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…they’re at Old City Hall…

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…but these courtroom scenes were shot down the QEW…

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…in Hamilton’s John Sopinka Courthouse.

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Billy Crudup’s flashy lawyer character…

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…works at the appropriately flashy Bay Adelaide Centre.

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Of course, you can’t make a movie like this without lots of churches and church-type locales too. Liev Schreiber’s Globe editor meets with Cardinal Bernard Law…

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…at the Newman Centre, at U of T.

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Near the end is a montage where Mark Ruffalo watches a children’s choir…

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…across campus, at St. Basil’s.

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McAdams goes to church with her mom…

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…at the more neighbourhood-scale St. Paul’s (Runnymede).

Time will soon tell if Spotlight brings home any Oscars, but if it does, just remember you don’t have to sit still for any of that Boston Pride stuff; they couldn’t have done it without us.

Thanks to a reader for pointing out two locations that have now been updated: the bar at the Park Hyatt and Mercatto, on Bay Street. We’ve also added one additional location, the Pickering Comfort Inn.