Where the Rob Lowe Cult Classic Youngblood Was Filmed in Toronto
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Where the Rob Lowe Cult Classic Youngblood Was Filmed in Toronto

With bonus Peter Zezel content.


Youngblood is no classic, but for whatever series of reasons, this 1986 hockey movie has kind of stood the test of time as something of a cult film. Yes, even though it’s (spoiler alert!) a hockey movie that ends both with a time-expired penalty shot in a tie game and a character-building post-game, mano-a-mano brawl.

It’s also the rare Hollywood movie (especially from back in the day) that actually takes place in Toronto. Well, Hamilton. Yes, young and handsome Rob Lowe ventures north to become a hockey star and learns a lot about life and so forth along the way. Watch and you too may find your horizons expanding, young Canadian.

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As he leaves America, during the opening scenes, we drive past Niagara Falls.

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Given the plot, so to speak, it won’t surprise you there are a lot of hockey arenas to be found. It’s hard to ID them all but we can at least spot the two main ones.

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This “Hamilton Arena” is actually the Scarborough Gardens in, you know, Scarborough.

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And a lot of the interiors were shot farther south, in the Ted Reeve Arena.

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Both give you the time to enjoy the little things in the background, like the vintage Timmys and Shopsy’s here…

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…this old ad for the Toronto Herald and a reminder of how 1980s advertising firms so deftly used fonts to predict our digital future.

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Here too. Ugh.

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And retro Loblaws boards while we’re at it. You may notice that most of the teams in Youngblood‘s OHL are fictional but, for whatever reasons, those really are the Toronto Marlies who’ve since journeyed to Newfoundland and come back home.

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This arena is supposed to be in Thunder Bay, but beyond saying it’s likely not really there, we’re not sure where it is.

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But vintage ads aren’t the only retro enjoyment! In addition to co-star Patrick Swayze…

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…you can spot young Toronto actor Keanu Reeves (who, apparently, was actually a very good goalie)…

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…future Toronto Maple Leaf Peter Zezel

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…bad boy enforcer Racki, played by George Finn

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…and of course Eric Nesterenko, playing Youngblood’s dad. The graduate of North Toronto CI played in the NHL for more than 20 years, five of them with the Leafs.

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Rob’s gal pal is played by Cynthia Gibb. If you recognize her you’re probably, like us, huge fans of Short Circuit 2. (As Wikipedia helpfully notes, she is not actually related to any of the BeeGees!)

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In this scene, we find ourselves rather obviously outside at the Donlands Theatre. The theatre closed long ago, but the building remains.

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Here, Lowe approaches the box office…

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…then meets up with Gibb who walks north…

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…past this old A&A Records, which now seems to be a furniture store

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…and based on the brickwork outside, this stationery store has since become the Donlands Animal Hospital.

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And they have a vintage Wintario sign in the window, which is cool.

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Then they run into the coach, played by uber-character actor Ed Lauter, who seems to be emerging from what is now the Select Bakery.

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A key plot point is Youngblood’s sexual initiation by the very friendly Mrs. McGill. Our resident vintage street expert, Sean Marshall, found it here

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…on Dovercourt.

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Youngblood recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with everything from an in-depth oral histories to a local party hosted at the Gladstone Hotel by Dave Bidini. We apologize for being late to the game, but it’s never too late to celebrate an important piece of our cultural heritage.

CORRECTION: 8:28 PM This article originally had an incorrect image that we said was of Peter Zezel. We’ve updated the article with a new Zezel image.