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Friday July 19th 2019

X-Men | 2000

X-Men location: Parkwood Estate, Oshawa, Ontario
X-Men location: ‘Dr Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters’: Parkwood Estate, Oshawa, Ontario

Magneto, Wolverine, Rogue and the rest of the mutant crew are finally brought to the screen in Bryan Singer’s darkly intelligent comic-strip adaptation, set around 'New York' but made almost entirely in Ontario, Canada.

The opening concentration camp scene, in ‘Poland, 1944’, used the old Gooderham-Worts Distillery, Mill Street toward the Toronto waterfront, an abandoned complex whose empty warehouses are frequently used as makeshift studios, for productions including Chicago, Three Men and a Baby, Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic, The Recruit, Blues Brothers 2000 and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

The lowlife bar in ‘northern Alberta’ where Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is first discovered cage-fighting is also the old distillery.

X-Men location: Gooderham Worts Distillery, Toronto
X-Men location: Magneto discovers his powers in the ‘concentration camp’: Gooderham Worts Distillery, Toronto

In central Toronto is the dazzling metal and glass centre of the senate hearings, the Metro Hall Council Chamber, St John Street, and the ‘Ellis Island’ meeting place for the Conference of World Leaders, which is Central Commerce Collegiate, 570 Shaw Street, west of the city.

X-Men location: Metro Hall, St John Street, Toronto
X-Men location: The senate hearings: Metro Hall, St John Street, Toronto

The stretch of road where Wolverine’s truck is attacked is east of Toronto in nature conservation area, the Rouge River Valley Park.

Further east still, in the city of Oshawa you’ll find ‘Mutant High’, Dr Xavier’s ‘School for Gifted Youngsters’, supposedly in ‘Westchester’, in reality the Parkwood Estate, 270 Simcoe Street North, which you might have seen as the luxurious apartment of Kitty Baxter (Lucy Liu) in Chicago, or in Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison, Shirley MacLaine’s Mrs Winterbourne, Bulletproof Monk with Yun-Fat Chow or Hollywoodland with Ben Affleck.

X-Men location: Casa Loma, Toronto
X-Men location: The schoolroom of ‘Xavier’s academy’: Casa Loma, Toronto

The interior of the school, though, is Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace at Spadina Road, a turn-of-the-century mock-medieval folly overlooking northern Toronto. The building is a frequent film location (see it in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and in Jean-Claude van Damme actioner Maximum Risk), and here you’ll find the study of Dr Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the conservatory where mutant children learn to channel their skills, and the old Stables, where Cyclops (James Marsden) keeps his bike.

X-Men location: Stables, Casa Loma, Toronto
X-Men location: Cyclops stashes his bike: Stables, Casa Loma, Toronto

The lair of militant leader Magneto (Ian McKellen) was constructed in a forest clearing at the Greenwood Conservation Area in Hamilton, about 40 miles southwest of Toronto.

X-Men location: LIUNA Station, formerly Canadian National Railway building, James Street North, Hamilton
X-Men location: shoot-out at ‘Westchester Railway Station’: LIUNA Station, (Canadian National Railway building), James Street North, Hamilton

‘Westchester Railway Station’, to which Cerebro traces Rogue (Anna Paquin), and Magneto uses his electromagnetic powers to levitate the police cars, is also Hamilton. It was the CNR (Canadian National Railway) Station, now events space / wedding venue LIUNA Station, 360 James Street North, Hamilton. This was also the location of the spectacular shoot-out in 1996 actioner The Long Kiss Goodnight, with Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson.

No, that's not the real Statue of Liberty. ‘Liberty Island’ is actually Spencer Smith Park, 1400 Lakeshore Road, at Burlington on the Lake Ontario waterfront northwest of Hamilton, while some of the interior shots of the statue are the Bridgman Transformer Station, 391 Davenport Road just to the east of Casa Loma.