Reel Toronto — Room
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Reel Toronto — Room

Nominated for four Oscars, Lenny Abrahamson's Room is supposed to take place in any North American city, but it's right here in Toronto.

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It’s been a few years since Toronto could lay some real claim to Oscar gold but we’ve got a good chance this year. Last time out we profiled the set-in-Boston Spotlight, nominated for six Oscars. But Room, with four of its own, has even greater Toronto cred. An Irish-Canadian co-production, it was filmed here and it also happened to begin its climb up the Oscar ladder by winning the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at last year’s TIFF.

It doesn’t have a million locations to see but the ones it does have are all in these parts. Also if you haven’t seen the movie, seeing these locations will almost certainly constitute spoilers, so tread lightly!

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If you’ve read this far you probably know that the film focuses on Jack and Ma, and they’ve been abducted (well, she was, and then she was impregnated by her captor). They’re trapped in “Room,” which is actually a garden shed in “Old Nick”‘s backyard, but it’s all Jack knows of the world.

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We don’t get a good look at the exterior of the titular Room until fairly late in the movie. Residential locations can always be a bit dicey and since this particular home is portraying a rather sordid locale, we won’t point it out precisely. We will tell you, however, that it’s here, in the pre-sprawl Port Credit area of Mississauga.

(Note that when the cops come we see they’re from Akron; the only real clue to where we’re supposed to be. Why Akron? Who knows! If nothing else it makes one think of the Ariel Castro abductions, which were in the same state, up in Cleveland.)

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We don’t see anything outside of Room until Jack escapes from the back of Old Nick’s pick-up truck, pretending to be dead.

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These scenes are also shot in the same neighbourhood.

He’s told he should hop out when the car comes to a stop sign after crossing train tracks. The rail crossing seen here is this one, on Revus Drive.

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And he finally jumps out at the next stop sign…

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…at the corner of Revus and Marfa.

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Then we finally see a bit more of the wider world. Our main characters make their way to the Bridgepoint Hospital.

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It comes with a lovely patio…

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…and a view of the Bloor Viaduct. It may be recognizable to Orphan Black fans as the Dyad Institute.

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Eventually they go home to live with Ma’s mother in this bungalow.

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This fuzzy street sign and a transformer box were enough to help us place it here, on Etobicoke’s Aylebury Road.

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There’s also a montage towards the end where we see them finally living their lives.

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This is Etobicoke’s Apache Burgers, for instance.

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This beach is pretty close by, at Marie Curtis Park.

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And, perhaps most obviously, this skating scene was shot at Nathan Philips Square. (Indeed, it can be a bit jarring if you’ve been watching the whole time without recognizing Toronto!)

Brie Larson seems to have a serious shot at an Oscar and has come a long way since the last time she shot a pretty good movie here. Either way, with one quarter of the Best Picture nominees shot here, you can at least watch this year’s Oscars with a local rooting interest.

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