Where Police Academy 4 Was Filmed in Toronto
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Where Police Academy 4 Was Filmed in Toronto

Including a David Spade skateboarding scene with Tony Hawk as the stunt double.

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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Once more unto the breach, dear friends! We’ve been taking a look back at that amazing trio of times in the 1980s when what is arguably the greatest cinematic comedy series of all time used our awesome city to portray some generic, American city. With both Police Academy and Police Academy 3: Back in Training safely covered, all we have left is to give Police Academy 4 (“Citizens on Patrol,” natch!) the exploration it so richly deserves.

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Just as every Bond film opens with a dramatic set piece and every Star Wars film with a prologue crawl, every Police Academy movie seems to start with an obvious shot of our skyline and then cops driving around darkly filmed streets.

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You can’t always tell where we are, but it looks like we’re on Bloor, near Yorkville…

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…complete with a view of going by Cumberland Terrace.

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Here’s the nearby and since-departed Backstage theatres, which were behind the Uptown Theatre, on Balmuto. (If you saw Police Academy 4 or any other Police Academy movie while sitting in these very theatres, we want to hear your amazing meta story in the comments!)

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Oh, and this is a nice look at Yonge Street back when A&A Records and Sam’s still ruled. Amazingly, that Pizza Pizza is still there.

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Here we’re on Dundas, in Chinatown. (Random, cool history: this 1990 newspaper article that mentions the now-defunct Tai Ping Mart in the context of discussing a young chef named Susur Lee buying his ingredients.)

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And, from later in the movie…

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…here’s Lakshore Boulevard. TNT Surplus is still there.

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Of course this isn’t too far from the Humber Lakeshore Campus…

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…which, as we all know, is where the Academy itself was always filmed.

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Back to the beginning, where we met some bad-ass skateboarders…

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…played by 1980s bad boys David Spade and Brian Backer. (According to the Internets, Tony Hawk actually did Spade’s stunt work!)

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…they enjoy boarding…

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…all over the financial district…

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…even over to Berczy Park. (You can see it all bit better in the video linked above.)

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Then they find their way…

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…over to Woodbine Centre.

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Sorry, Spade. You own only the second greatest 1980s chase sequence filmed there.

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A bit more skateboarding here. You can see Old Ed’s in the background, which seems to place this alley on Pearl Street, even though it all looks different today.

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Also looking different today is this area…

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…across from the Redpath factory. Today, it’s Sugar Beach.

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This was also some fun detective work. A basketball game…

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…beside a construction site…

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…with this view across the street. After just a few hours minutes of research, we figured out that they’re playing in this Green P lot on Huron (and that they’ve since finished the adjacent condo, on Prince Arthur).

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One of their enemies gets into that porta potty there and then they pick it up with a crane and put it down here. This is actually the Gator Bowl in Florida. It’s kinda funny because they were close enough to do it for real with Varsity Stadium.

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Still in the U of T neighbourhood, we pay a visit to Trinity College.

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This building, which totally looks an actual police station…

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…is really the 1908 Queen and Lisgar public library branch. It’s a sad reflection of our regard for Toronto’s cinematic heritage that its appearance herein was not cited when the City filed a notice of Intention to Designate it as a heritage building. Shame!

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However, we are definitely sure this is Bobcat Goldthwait in the AGO.

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And this is definitely the staircase at Old City Hall.

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Is that future Oscar nominee Sharon Stone rockin’ some feathered hair in the courthouse?

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Sho nuff!

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This rally is at the old Concert Hall, the Masonic Temple at Yonge and Davenport.

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And this was another fun location to figure out.

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This corner has changed and that sweet-looking lounge is now a Stitches outlet…

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…out on the Danforth, east of Main.

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While the other two movies shot their finales all over downtown…

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…this is apparently out in Burleigh Falls. So it ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. And, sure, Sharon Stone.

Yes, it’s been a generation but Police Academy touched our soul, people. Even Bill and Chelsea Clinton know it’s true. And even Steve Guttenberg still gets the feelsies from it all. Toronto, and Etobicoke especially, be proud.

Thanks to reader Tadmanter who correctly identified the location of the faux police station. The article has been updated accordingly.