Toronto and Vancouver may have been disguised, but these Disney shows and movies were definitely filmed in Canada!
It’s always interesting to see big American cities like New York or Los Angeles depicted in Canada on film. For Disney, it’s actually quite common to see a movie’s filming take place in Toronto or Vancouver, and this has also happened with some television shows.
There are many decisions involved in choosing a location to shoot a movie or series, and some of them are financially-motivated. Well-traveled viewers can sometimes tell where their favorite projects were filmed, but plenty of people had no idea that these ten Disney crews headed to Canada for production.
10 In A Heartbeat
In a Heartbeat was one of the Disney Channel’s most dramatic series, and it’s unfortunate that it isn’t on Disney+. Canadian actors Shawn Ashmore, Reagan Pasternak, Danso Gordon, and Christopher Ralph filled the main roles of teenage EMTs working in a special after-school program. Although it was made specifically for a United States-driven Disney Channel, In a Heartbeat was filmed in Toronto and began airing episodes in 2000.
9 The Pacifier
This 2005 theatrical release puts a navy seal (Vin Diesel) in charge of the safety of five children after their father, a scientist, is killed. With a nervous mom and a pet duck, the Plummer family presents an assignment like no other. Aside from some footage in Key West, The Pacifier was filmed in Mississauga and Toronto, Ontario.
8 Girl Vs. Monster
Girl vs. Monster, a 2012 Disney Channel Original Movie, was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Skylar Lewis (Olivia Holt) learns that she is part of a family of monster hunters, just in time for Halloween.
From a potentially haunted set to a physical connection with Twilight, there are all kinds of great behind-the-scenes tidbits about this DCOM.
7 Ice Princess
In some cases, it’s easy to imagine wintry films being created in Canada, and it’s true for Ice Princess. The 2005 ice skating movie was filmed in the summer of 2004. It was not entirely filmed in Canada; California was also a location. However, Toronto and Millbrook, Ontario were two of the prime locations, the latter serving as main character Casey Carlyle’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) hometown. David Fleischer at Torontoist breaks down specific hangouts, like Sylvia’s restaurant, and colleges, like Central Tech and De La Salle College, used in the movie.
6 So Weird
So Weird began in 1999 and outlasted In a Heartbeat. The first two seasons starred Cara DeLizia as Fiona “Fi” Phillips, a young woman who experiences paranormal activity and blogs about it on her website. Filmed in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia, the series was one of Disney Channel’s last original series to be filmed in Canada. Fi’s mother on the show is a traveling musician, so a tour bus takes the characters on new adventures in every episode.
5 Flash Forward
As Disney Channel changed its identity in the late 1990s, the network also aired a comedy series that they shot in Canada. Flash Forward began in 1995 with lifelong best friends Becca (Jewel Staite) and Tucker (Ben Foster). The show was aimed at the middle school set and was filmed in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario. Though it doesn’t receive the fanfare of a Lizzie McGuire or Even Stevens, it would be nice to see the series become available for streaming.
4 Cow Belles
Cow Belles was shot in the Ontario township of Uxbridge. Within the region of Durham, Uxbridge is known as the Trail Capital of Canada. Natural scenery adds to the theme–two spoiled sisters trade in their designer handbags for the daily grind of the family dairy. The older sister, Taylor, spends time outside with her new farmer boyfriend and even assists in birthing a calf. Cow Belles premiered in 2006 on Disney Channel and starred Aly and AJ Michalka.
After a trilogy of music, dance moves, and villainous stories, Disney’s Descendants is one of their most popular properties. The first movie (2015) was shot across British Columbia, including Vancouver, Victoria, and Lynn Canyon Park. The 2017 and 2019 sequels were also filmed in Vancouver. The franchise was headlined by Dove Cameron, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson, and the late Cameron Boyce.
2 The Cheetah Girls
For those unfamiliar with Toronto, it may be a bit surprising that The Cheetah Girls (2003) was filmed there. Toronto plays the part of New York City as Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan), Aqua (Kiely Williams), Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), and Galleria (Raven-Symoné) pursue their dreams with music.
The Cheetah Girls have the opportunity to get a recording contract, but in true Disney Channel fashion, their friendship is tested in the process.
1 The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause is the kind of movie that makes viewers feel like they’re really going to the North Pole. That magical sleigh ride leads to a wintry world of imagination, and it all happens in Oakville and Toronto (well, most of it). Aside from some studio footage in Hollywood, real Canadian schools, homes, a zoo, and a park served as filming locations. The Torontoist’s David Fleischer notes that Oakville provides most of the home and town settings, but Toronto buildings, like schools, a zoo, a park, law offices, a hospital (disguised as a police station), and even a Denny’s restaurant are also used.
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