What's the prettiest, most colourful spot in Toronto?
January 2, 2008 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Suggest colourful, scenic locations in Toronto for a short film shoot? Particularly seeking offbeat locations with saturated, rich colours, maybe colourful buildings, graffiti or murals.

I have an idea for a short film. It's mostly character- and dialogue-driven, so it could be set in any location, which means I might as well pick somewhere gorgeous. I'd like it to be an interesting location with natural lighting, in or very near to downtown Toronto. Either interiors or exteriors are fine, and I expect to shoot in late spring or early summer. I would love to do for Toronto what Amelie did for Montmartre. Bonus points if it's a location you know for sure I can get a permit or a hookup for!

I'm seeking a fun, playful, colourful, cheerful feel, maybe a location with levels for the characters to climb on, or stuff they can interact with. I'm not so much looking for locations like Kensington Market, where the colourful stuff is contained in bins amidst a grey streetscape-- I'd prefer if the actual environment was bright and pretty, with big colourful things that occupy vertical space, like murals, graffiti, or playground structures, and potential for interesting, cheeky cinematography. Bright, saturated, cheerful colours- apple green, orange, yellow, sky blue, red.

The characters are a mid-20s couple on a fun date early in the relationship. Some themes in the story include young love, optimism, death, Judaism, urban infiltration (ie, sneaking into forbidden places), young urban arty ennui, irony, and springtime.
posted by pseudostrabismus to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Nothing's jumping out at me off the top of my head that isn't a near total cliche...Chinatown, Queen West, etc. Check out Daily Dose of Imagery for some inspiration - that guy is Toronto-based and always makes the city look fresh by finding cool places/things to shoot.

Post an ad on Mandy.com for non-paid location scouts or a locations coordinator. There's always someone who will pitch in for credit. Good luck!
posted by SassHat at 5:30 PM on January 2, 2008

Off the top of my head? Depending on what sort of colour (and how much funkiness) you're looking for, I'd suggest Grossman's Tavern... though it is on Spadina in the general area of Kensington Market.
posted by onshi at 5:37 PM on January 2, 2008

As far as places with lots of graffiti, the back alleys just north of Queen, on Renfrew between McCaul and St. Patrick have some. Queen street between John and Spadina is also kinda colorful during summer and spring. Just north of that area you will find the AGO, as well as the OCAD building, which is the definition of colorful and cheerful. There is also a park behind AGO, the Grange park, which I think has some playgrounds. On Spadina you have Chinatown, and on University you have all the nice trees and flowers on the very wide median, which includes some monuments and fountains (from climbing on, etc).

Only catch is that there may be construction around the AGO and the Grance park -- not sure how long that will last.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 5:38 PM on January 2, 2008

SneakyDees (College and Bathurst) might be what you are looking for. You'll have to bring the bright lights though.
posted by maxpower at 5:50 PM on January 2, 2008

I don't know Toronto that well, but I was just there two days ago and saw some beautiful colourful graffiti on Bloor West from the subway. It's a section where the train is above ground, on the south side, somewhere between Bathurst and Jane... maybe around Dundas West? If you take the train you'll spot it.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:43 PM on January 2, 2008

Hm, Torontoist has some nice photos of locations that might be of interest. They also have a Flickr pool that could be helpfull. See St. Andrew's Church, Honest Ed's, perhaps the Film Studios, University and College at night...
posted by greatgefilte at 7:48 PM on January 2, 2008

Can I just say, good luck, it's not the most colourful city around, and I'd love to see what you can do with it!
posted by greatgefilte at 7:51 PM on January 2, 2008

Kensington Market. West of Spadina south of College. Beside Chinatown.
posted by BeaverTerror at 7:52 PM on January 2, 2008

Best answer: I have this long-ongoing (and yet unfilmed) set of scenarios in my head where I've mentally bookmarked locations for this masterpiece I may never make. But I can't give away any of those. However, I think you could make a cool montage of this couple against a backdrop of all the different subway tiles at the different subway stations. I've always thought of doing that...either a montage of them at different stations or a quick-cut scene of them doing the same walk along the platform with the same movements, but the background changes every few frames. It may have been done before, but I haven't seen it. Kind of a cinematic version of the buttons from Spacing that were so big a few years ago.
Let me know if you need music.
posted by chococat at 7:58 PM on January 2, 2008

a better Baldwin link.
posted by Kololo at 8:06 PM on January 2, 2008

Music Garden? It has waterfront, sculptures.
(Chococat's idea is great!)
posted by typewriter at 8:16 PM on January 2, 2008

Best answer: In the alley just south of Queen West, beginning at Spadina and extending a bit past Bathurst, there is a ton of amazing graffiti. I have a bunch of photos here. (They repaint it every summer, so some of the stuff there has been painted over.) Croft Street (north-south from College, just a bit east of Bathurst) has murals.

Commerce Court West, you get big elephants and baby elephants. Of course, the Financial District is rather cold, but they do have some great sculptures in there that you may like.

Check out yorkville's favourites on flickr. He tags a lot of Toronto art and sculpture. The Torontoist pool could also provide some inspiration.
posted by heatherann at 5:35 AM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've always loved BCE Place (and have mentioned it here before); the architecture is stunning if not colourful. Permits are relatively easy to get there, at least for events occuring after business hours.

In BCE Place there's Richtree (formerly Marche), but I doubt you'd get a permit there without a whole lotta dough being thrown down.

Centreville on Centre Island could work very very well, and I've heard they're pretty accommodating.

I have personally been in a TV show that was filmed at Riverdale Farm--neat place.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:29 AM on January 3, 2008

Response by poster: These are great answers- thanks all!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:22 PM on January 11, 2008

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