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Five Spooky Movies That Were Filmed in Toronto

With Halloween right around the corner, we’ve rounded up five Toronto locations that have been featured in some downright frightful films

By Evelyn Chin

1 Victoria College in Crimson Peak (2015)

Having publicly proclaimed his love for the city, it’s no surprise that director Guillermo del Toro shoots many of his films in Toronto. The love affair began in 1997 when the director shot sci-fi horror flick Mimic (1997) here. More recently, he chose Toronto as a backdrop for the horror-fantasy Crimson Peak (2015). Predominately shot at the Pinewood Toronto Studios, it also features a University of Toronto cameo. Victoria College’s ornate cast iron stairway and balustrade (pictured above) can be seen as Edith Cushing, played by Mia Wasikowska, makes her way up to her publisher’s office. 

Victoria College

Joseph L. Rotman School of Management in Urban Legend (1998)

The University of Toronto gets even more screen time in the 1998 slasher film Urban Legend, moonlighting as the fictional Pendleton University. Throughout the film, such notable UofT hot spots as Convocation Hall, University College, and Victoria College make appearances. Briefly featured is the Rotman School of Management’s Fleck Atrium where Sasha Thomas, played by Tara Reid, is chased down the stairs by a masked killer. Completed in 1995, the Rotman school was designed by international firm Zeidler Partnership Architects and has since undergone a major expansion led by KPMB architects.

Northern Secondary School in Carrie (2013)

Northern Secondary School in Midtown made it to the big screen in Carrie, a film adaption of Stephen King’s 1974 novel of the same name. The school, designed by architect C.E.C. Dyson and completed in 1930, was built in the Collegiate Gothic style. The school’s distinct architectural features — vaulted ceilings, arched doorways, and relief sculptures — are visible as the titular character (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) waits for her mother.

Second Floor

Cranfield House in It (2017)

Another Stephen King novel adaptation, It (2017) transformed the charming small town of Port Hope, Ontario into the fictional Derry, Maine. But the film also features the interior of Cranfield House, a heritage home in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood. The photo below shows the historical landmark from the street (including a creepy second-floor red door). Designed by architect Henry Simpson (1864-1926), the home features elements of two ornate architectural styles: Queen Anne Revival and Edwardian Classicism.

5 Thompson Hotel in Black Mirror – Arkangel (2017)

Black Mirror isn’t a horror movie, but this episode about parenting and surveillance (read: helicopter parents) in a techno-dystopia is enough to send chills down your spine. Single mother Marie Sambrell, played by Rosemarie DeWitt, goes through a major scare when her daughter briefly disappears. After mother and child are reunited, Marie has her child outfitted with a child-monitoring implant. This is where Toronto’s Thompson Hotel, acting as the Archangel clinic, comes on screen. Designed by ArchitectsAlliance, the Thompson is the perfect setting for a sleek, high-tech clinic of the future.

For more Toronto on film, head over to 10 Movies Where Toronto Plays Itself.

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