Reel Toronto: All the Toronto Locations in Drake's Music Videos

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Reel Toronto: All the Toronto Locations in Drake’s Music Videos

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.

Drake Week celebrates all things Toronto and Drake in anticipation of the city hype man’s latest album, Views from the 6.

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Toronto has long been a major centre for music video shoots and indeed we’ve looked at some vintage classics from the 80s, 90s and 00s. But given Drake’s civic boosterism, it’s not surprising that highlighting his own connection the 6ix has been an ongoing theme of his video ouevre.

Location wise, a couple of videos are gimmes. Rhianna’s “Work” is all the rage right now and it’s rather hard to miss that it’s shot at The Real Jerk at Gerrard and Carlaw…

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…what with the sign saying as much…

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…and the shots inside…

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…and outside that let everyone know the shoot was going on.

Also easy, since it takes places entirely in one location…

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…is “5 AM in Toronto,” which features Drake and his posse…

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…both outside…

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…and inside North York’s “Beach Blast.”

Now we get to the two biggies. First there is the autbiographical-ish “Started from the Bottom.”

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It stats out with a young, Drizzy-ish child playing soccer…

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…at an indoor soccer dome that’s pretty well labeled. There’s nothing to ID this field specifically, but we suspect it’s actually the dome at Allan Lamport Stadium.

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One of the through-lines in the video is Drake dancing in the snow, alongside a white Bentley on this street…

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…actually Coulson Avenue in his native Forest Hill.

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The camera also pans by his mom standing outside his childhood home, at #9.

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The other big location that recurs…

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…is this obviously-a Shoppers Drug Mart…

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…which was shot at this location, in Binbrook, Ontario, in Hamilton.

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All these clubby dance scenes were shot down at Brockton Village’s Club Paradise.

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There’s a ton of love for the CN Tower…

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…and the skyline when he goes cruising in his private jet, as one does.

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Drake leaves The 6ix for The 9ine (is it cool if we call the 905 that?), bowling at the (since closed) Lucky Strike, up in Vaughan.

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This party at the end was also shot out of town, in the Dominican Republic.

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Back downtown, it was hard to miss this billboard…

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…when it was on display on the edge of Liberty Village. It’s worth noting that this video, “Work,” and also “Hotline Bling,” were all shot by Director X, who won a Special Achievement from the Prism Prize this week.

So, that’s all fine and good but Drake’s real cinematic magnum opus is “Jungle.” It’s positively bursting with Torontoness-past and present.

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Let’s start with the past, since we aim both to entertain and to educate. You may wonder what these old timey shots at the start are.

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It’s footage from the Great Toronto Fire of 1904. It took place almost exactly 112 years from today and it’s historic not just for its sheer scale but because this is the first known moving film of our fair city.

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Here’s the skyline, from back in the days when the Royal York was the tallest building in the Commonwealth. It’s pre-New City Hall so probably from the 1950s or early 60s.

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And this is looking up Yonge Street from Adelaide. That building in the bottom right is the Lumsden Building, which still exists.

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More history here with this apparently random video of a building imploding. The date and geography let us know this was actually 111 Elizabeth Street biting the dust. Today it’s just a bunch of condos (duh!). But the original building, which lasted from 1977 to 1999, actually had an interesting history connected to the old Chinatown that grew out of the area’s history as part of The Ward.

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Getting slightly more contemporary, we have this undated shot of the CN Tower…

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…and then a series of shots from the G20 riots.

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Now, we get into the present. After some time in Los Angeles, the Toronto segment of the video opens with this cool shot of Drake looking out over the city…

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…which based on its westward view, seems to put him in the Shangri-La Hotel.

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This is another pretty skyline view, from the Port Lands…

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…and this one looks like it’s from Riverdale Park.

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Then there’s lots of handheld stuff that goes by quickly. When this guy moves…

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…we can see for a split-second they’re on King Street West

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…and they go cruising down the street.

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These apartments…

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…and this basketball court are both in St. Jamestown.

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This lickety-split shot is of the Queen’s Quay streetcar pulling into Union Station.

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These guys are hanging out by the baseball diamond in Moss Park.

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Drake also spends some lonely, mopey time…

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…at the Mercury Espresso Bar.

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The only bit we’re not sure of is this convenience store….

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…where he hangs out with his posse…

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…in some suburban-looking plaza.

Of course, those are all fine and good but Drake’s most famous and awesome video appearance? That was courtside at the ACC.

Correction, 3:25 p.m.:
This article initially stated that Director X won the Prism Prize. In fact, we won a Special Achievement Award from the Prism Prize. The Prism Prize will be awarded May 15. Torontoist regrets the error.


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