10 Moments the University of Toronto Made it to the Big Screen

Photo by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

The University of Toronto St. George campus has a global reach when it comes to research and innovation. The University of Toronto is a renowned university, known for notable alumni who have made major research breakthroughs in various fields, and who have brought forth high honour and status to the institution. But it’s celebrity status also relates to film and the big screen.

The University of Toronto provided the backdrop and setting for countless TV shows and movies over the decades. A major part of this is due to the beautiful campus architecture. Here are ten moments that the University of Toronto St. George campus appears on the big screen:

1) Mean Girls

The 2004 teen drama movie Mean Girls is filmed here and at several locations across Toronto and the Toronto area. The exterior of Convocation Hall appears during an establishing scene, and the interior hall provides the setting for the math competition.

2) Suits

The TV Series was filmed here. Believe it or not, many areas near the University of Toronto are also captured for the series. Inside the Newman Centre, the Oak Room provided a nice backdrop throughout the show. I remember seeing vehicles parked outside the Newman Centre a few years ago, and it looked like there were camera crews outside. Cool!

3) Pacific Rim

The sci-fi alien blockbuster Pacific Rim filmed beside the Chestnut Residence. Catch a glimpse of it during a flashback scene in the movie. Was anybody in Chestnut confused when they looked outside during the filming process?

4) The Incredible Hulk

See Knox College during the 2008 Incredible Hulk superhero movie. The beautiful façade of Knox College appears in the background during part of Hulk’s rage. Hulk smash!

5) Robocop

The 2014 Robocop remake is filmed at the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. Additionally, catch a glimpse of University of Toronto buildings in the background as characters walk King’s College Road. It’s hard to miss Convocation Hall and the Medical Sciences Building! Another more recent release, Flatliners, also films inside the building and the Medical Sciences Building. Also, see the Fitzgerald Building in the background of scenes where characters are sitting inside the Terrence Donnelly Centre.

6) Friends

Likewise, an episode of the iconic TV show Friends films here. Witness the gigantic presence of Robarts Library appear in the background of one of the establishing scenes on the big screen. Think about it. Robarts, of all places, appears on a popular TV show.

7) Orphan Black

Orphan Black films at the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and other campus locations. A lot of the show films in Toronto, so it’s fun to identify the places you recognize. When two characters are walking on a sunny winter afternoon, clearly see the St. Michael’s courtyard and that single folding, plated statue. Another episode (seasons later), the façade of Convocation Hall appears in a heavily edited scene where the buildings beside Convocation are replaced by something completely different. Furthermore, it looks super obvious once you’re familiar with Convocation and King’s College Circle.

8) Good Will Hunting

Moreover, the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting uses the University of Toronto as the background for what we pretend is MIT and Harvard University. Recognize the McLennan Physical Labs in classroom scenes. Also, the Whitney Hall Residences of University College. 

9) Resident Evil: Afterlife

The 2010 movie Resident Evil: Afterlife films on campus. You won’t believe it, but Robarts Library is the star of an exterior establishing scene. They film Robarts for its brutalist architecture. Its intimidating and unfriendly façade portrays a prison. Well, that’s something that University of Toronto students understand well.

10) Anne of Green Gables

The classic 1985 Anne of Green Gables films here as the main character attends her fictional university. Victoria College provides the perfect backdrop for scenes where everyone frolics around on the beautiful green grass beside the iconic building. 

So, there you have it. Your campus makes the big screen over and over again. Basically, the University of Toronto is a celebrity!

Published on March 16, 2020

About Tashiana Lusterio

Tashiana is an architecture graduate working in the field of architectural design. She enjoys illustrating, translating envisioned projects into built realities, and creating electronic dance music on the piano.