If you’ve wandered around the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus during summer months, you’ve probably seen blue signs decorating the school hallways with the words: “Please excuse our appearance while we’re part of making movie magic.” In recent years, UTM has become its own little Hollywood as the host of on-set locations for numerous television and film productions. Its scenic nature and modern architecture have been featured and transformed into hospitals, zombie high schools, and superhero training grounds.
Gen V (2023-present)
Amazon Prime’s Gen V follows a group of crime-fighting college students as they navigate their powers and train with one another for the top rank at their superhero university. As a spin-off of The Boys, this TV show is riddled with moral dilemmas and unexpected plot twists that the characters are forced to grapple with.
The Maanjiwe Nendamowinan (MN) building is the main featured location of UTM in Gen V, as it was turned into “The School of Crimefighting” with banners of the main characters and statues of superheroes erected at the entrance. Production occurred during the summer 2022 semester, so be sure to ask around and see if anyone on campus has any Hollywood anecdotes.
The Boys (2019-present)
Just like its spin-off, The Boys focuses on a group of secretly morally corrupt superheroes who work for the superhero corporation Vought International. The show follows a group of civilians, some whom have been personally wronged by these heroes, as they take steps to expose their misconduct. The Boys is an entertaining spin on the “perfect superhero” trope, showing the heroic personas of the superheroes slowly crumble as they abuse their powers.
Although not featured as much compared to Gen V, The Boys utilized the signature round interior of the Kaneff Centre and the Innovation Complex joint-buildings, where the Blackwood Art Gallery is located.
Downsizing is a dramedy film following a couple and their journey through a downsizing procedure, in which a human can choose to shrink their bodies to a microscopic size and live in a community with other shrunken humans. The film follows Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and the difficulties that arise from his choice to downsize without his wife, Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig). As the film progresses, Paul realizes that the experiment is not as utopic as it seems.
UTM’s Library is featured in this film as the fictional Norwegian Edvadsen Institute. The Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) Building is also seen briefly at the beginning of the movie. Production occurred in the spring of 2016.
Zombies 2 (2020) and Zombies 3 (2022)
Directed by Paul Hoen, Zombies has been Disney Channel’s newest musical trilogy. The trilogy follows cheerleader Addison (Meg Donnelly) and ambitious zombie football player Zed (Milo Manheim) as they navigate their identities, romance, discrimination, and high school after the mass transferring of zombie students to Seabrook High School. The addition of aliens in the third film adds to the tension as the main characters gear up for college.
The trilogy features a colourfully adorned MN, as well as the field adjacent to it, as settings for Seabrook High School.
The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-present)
Based on the book written by U of T alumna, Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is an acclaimed drama TV series set in a dystopian society where women of child-bearing age are forced to birth children for the privileged class.
The Kaneff Centre, CCT Building, and the Health Sciences Complex (HSC) are featured in multiple seasons of the show. Kaneff is used as a courtroom while the CCT and HSC buildings portray a university setting.
Flatliners is a horror film focusing on five medical school students as they embark on life-altering self-experiments that force them to experience death and the afterlife for a single minute before being brought back to life.
The film features the Instructional Centre (IB), known for its sleek and modern metallic interior. The building is perfect as the scientific facility in which the students’ dangerous experiments occur.
In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)
This Netflix film is set in Philadelphia in the 1980s. It chronicles a law enforcement officer’s attempts to identify an unknown serial killer.
The Innovation Complex building is featured as the futuristic scientific research lab that the main characters frequent as they attempt to solve their murder mystery.
Heroes Reborn (2015-2016)
This TV mini-series follows the struggles of individuals with superpowers as they hide from the government after being scapegoated for a terrorist attack. The show focuses on hidden heroes as they attempt to uncover the truth of the terrorist attack that uprooted their lives and safety.
The show ran for one season and featured buildings on campus such as the HSC, the UTM Library, and IB.
If you’ve got some downtime this weekend, check out some of the films and TV shows on this list to see if you can spot your favourite spots on campus!
Staff Writer (Volume 49) — Kuicmar is completing a Forensic Biology specialization and a Creative Writing minor. This is Kuicmar’s first year as a staff writer for The Medium. She usually writes for the Opinions and Arts and Entertainment sections. She can’t wait to share her thoughts, opinions, and poetry. When she’s not studying or writing, you can find her watching movies, shooting arrows in archery, updating her Letterboxd, watching F1 content, reading NASA articles, or listening to music. You can find Kuicmar on her Instagram and Linkedin.