Toronto might seem far removed from celebrity hotspots like New York City or Los Angeles, but the most populous city in Canada is nevertheless home to more than its fair share of stars. No surprise, really, as Toronto is actually the third biggest production center for film and television in North America, earning it the nickname “Hollywood North.”
What’s more, the city is host to world-famous annual events like the Toronto International Film Festival, attractions like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto Zoo, and major league sports teams like two-time World Series winners the Blue Jays and 13-time Stanley Cup winners the Maple Leafs. Pair all of that with the city’s eclectic mix of glittery skyscrapers, relaxed suburbs, and historic turn-of-the-century architecture, and it’s small wonder that celebrities are lining up for some Toronto real estate to call their own.
From a Mexican monster movie maestro to a chart-topping rapper with a musical bathroom to the original Mean Girls queen bee, here are three of the brightest stars shining in Toronto’s sky.
Guillermo Del Toro
Though born and raised in Mexico acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro, who won the 2017 Best Picture Oscar for The Shape of Water, not only makes his home in Toronto but also runs his own studio out of the city’s east end. Starting with 1996’s Mimic, Del Toro has used locations in and around Toronto to shoot no less than five different projects, including the previously mentioned The Shape of Water, as well as Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, and all four seasons of his bloodsucking television series The Strain. Sharp-eyed viewers will no doubt recognize cameos from such landmarks as the majestic Elgin Theatre and the gothic Casa Loma.
Moving on from movies to music, Grammy-winning rapper Drake has always been synonymous with Toronto. Before Drake was dominating the Billboard Charts he was playing junior hockey in the city’s west end. His first break came when, at age 15, he became a main cast member in every Canadian’s favorite teen drama series, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Since shifting gears from a TV actor to the Recording Industry Association of America’s number one best-selling digital singles artist in the world, Drake has remained a true hometown hero. Most recently, the hip-hop star completed construction of his much-talked-about Toronto mansion, which boasts a price tag of $6.7 million and features everything from a full-sized basketball court to a singing toilet!
Not every celebrity is quite so showy with their homes. “Mean Girls” actress and environmental activist Rachel McAdams has famously kept mum about where in Toronto she currently hangs her hat, though it’s widely known that she previously made her home in the downtown Annex neighborhood and that, prior to becoming a world-famous actress, she studied theatre at Toronto’s York University. While McAdams may like to keep her private life, well, private she makes no secret of her love for the city she calls home, sharing some of her favorite local spots, such as Greener Garden Centre Nursery, Café Belong, and comic book shop The Beguiling, which she frequently visited in preparation for her role in the 2016 Marvel superhero movie Doctor Strange.