Canadian Hot Spots You May Not Realise Were In Your Favourite Movies

From Montreal to the Rocky Mountains.

18/09/2017 10:40 AM AEST | Updated 05/10/2017 5:25 PM AEDT

Ah, Hollywood. Masters of deception and camera trickery. If you think movies are really filmed in the locations they're set then think again. Chances are several of your favourite films -- wherever they pretend to be set -- are actually filmed in Canada. Why?

"Canada has amazing and varied scenery, cities and landscapes that can double for almost anywhere in the world," Film Commissioner at the Vancouver Island North Film Commission, Joan Miller said.

The famous Harvard University classroom scenes in Good Will Hunting were shot at the University of Toronto, and the beautiful French street scenes in Leonardo Di Caprio's Catch Me If You Can? They were filmed in Montreal.

"You can film a bustling modern city scene downtown, then be on a beach or in the mountains on the same day," says Producer at Location Fixer, Synnove Godseth.

Be inspired for your next cultural adventure by the these blockbuster movies and indie classics...

1. Brokeback Mountain

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Brokeback Mountain is set in Wyoming, but was actually shot around Kananaskis Country -- including Mount Lougheed, Moose Mountain, and Fortress Mountain -- part of the Canadian Rockies, Alberta.

So those intense, brooding love scenes between Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Legder as Ang Lee's tortured American lovers? Yep, filmed in Canada.

"The region surrounding Canmore (where the movie was shot) is visually stunning," Miller said of the town that its the focal point of this area of the Rockies, and attracts climbers, hikers and mountaineers in the summer and skiiers in the winter. As well as being close to a handful of provincial parks, Canmore is close to the exquisitely wintry sounding Grotto Canyon, where you can hike to hidden waterfalls. The town is also only an hour from Calgary and sits on the edge of Banff National Park.

If you're travelling from Canmore to Calgary, stop by at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, where you can meet rescued -- and seriously gorgeous -- wolf dogs and learn about them in the wild.

2. Twilight

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Twilight might be known as the movie that first had women swooning over Robert Pattinson, but the vampire angst is offset with some truly spectacular... American Canadian scenery.

Shot in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the rugged coastline and forest play a starring role.

"British Columbia has beaches and old growth forests, small mountain towns and coastal villages," Miller said. "The capital city Victoria is home to castles and a variety of old European looks."

"Pacific Rim National Park has attracted many fans who want to walk in the footsteps of the famous vampires and werewolves."

Werewolves and forbidden vampire-human love aside, British Columbia is known for having one of the world's most diverse ecosystems, with rainforests, marshes, beaches, mountains, rivers and lakes.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve alone has three diverse areas -- Long Beach (which is what it says on the tin) which sits near hip surf town Tofino, the Wild Pacific Trail, where you can hike to the village of Uclulet and whale watch, bear watch, fish or bike, and Broken Group Islands -- 100 secluded small islands to spend days kayaking through.

Don't leave without taking a boat or sea plane to Hot Springs Cove near Tofino -- the beautiful springs cascade down a hillside into rocky pools. Heaven.

3. The Day After Tomorrow

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This American blockbuster is the highest grossing Hollywood film to ever be filmed in Canada. Supposedly set in New York, it's actually filmed in Montreal, as well as Toronto and a slew of other international locations.

"Access to Montreal's great locations played a part in the decision to film here," Miller said of the city that is a cultural hub of old and new -- host to the Montreal Jazz Festival (the biggest in the world), the Notre Dame Basillica (Canada's first gothic revival church), the birth place of indie band Arcade Fire and home to Space For Life, a modern collection of experiences to connect humans to nature -- comprised of The Biodôme, Botanical Garden, Insectarium, and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

Of course, you can't visit the Quebec city without sampling its famous cuisine, Poutine -- for Aussies, this is hot chips covered in cheese curds and gravy. Save some room for the sweet, dense Montreal bagels, and the viande fumee (a smoked beef brisket) cured with spices.

A quirky event worth checking out is Igloofest in the Old Port district; an outdoor music and arts festival in sub-zero temperatures in January/February -- so don't forget to pack your thermals!

4. Capote

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The Academy Award winning Capote, starring the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, is set in Kansas but was mainly filmed in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"Manitoba's good infrastructure and strong incentives sealed the deal on this movie," Miller said.

Just 110km from the US border, which let's be honest, is a hop, skip and a jump for Aussies used to travelling across the globe, Winnipeg is a great spot to check out live music and fringe theatre -- hosting several annual festivals, such as the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Jazz Winnipeg Festival and The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.

This area of Canada is also a great spot to indulge your inner David Attenborough, head out to the nearby Delta Marsh or Grindstone Provincial Park to watch the three bird migration routes that cross over Manitoba. With over 390 species of birds, you'll see herons, hawks and the rare Western grebe -- which you can identify in said Attenborough voice, should you wish. At nearby Riding National Park you'll spot bison and elk -- both notably Canadian.

5. Kick Ass

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"Its striking modern buildings mean Toronto is often used to double for New York City," Godseth explained of the location choice for the indie flick Kick Ass starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Nicholas Cage.

As well as its impressive urban cityscape, Toronto is also only a 90 minute flight from New York, and it's the birthplace of October's Very Own rapper, Aubrey 'Drake' Graham. Visit the 6ix, a term Drake has added to pop culture vocabulary, to check out the cultural offerings -- the Frank Gehry designed The Art Gallery of Ontario or the Royal Ontario Museum, which houses more than six million objects.

You can even maximise your Drake-xperience by visiting the neighbourhood the Graham grew up in, Forest Hill, and staying at The Drake, which is sadly not owned by the rapper but still a seriously cool boutique hotel in the heart of the city.

Add to your pop culture fix by visiting Unionville, a small village outside of Toronto. Founded in 1794, its original buildings, that now house shops and cafes. The main street masqueraded as fictional Connecticut town Stars Hollow in the first season of the Gilmore Girls.

For more reasons to visit Canada, now -- visit keepexploring.canada.travel.

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