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Parkwood Estate houses Oshawa’s past and future

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series called the Land Where We Stand (LWWS). Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our...
HomeArtsOshawa is an amazing city for film productions

Oshawa is an amazing city for film productions

When an Oshawa resident saw Karl Urban, the New Zealand actor, downtown near Parkwood Estates having a smoke, they could not believe their eyes.

They contacted Parkwood Historic Site’s curator Samantha George.

However, George signed a confidential agreement for the filming and couldn’t tell them that The Boys was filming downtown Oshawa and it was in fact Karl Urban they had seen.

Despite being a small city, Oshawa carries a big amount of life with a diverse downtown and many historic locations.

These features make Oshawa one of the best places in Canada for global production companies to come and film.

Along with Parkwood Historic Site, Ontario Tech University’s Wind Tunnel and the Tribute Communities Centre are popular Oshawa locations for film productions.

Parkwood Historic Site has been a filming location for many years and appears in movies including X-Men (2000), Ready or Not (2019), Billy Madison (1995) and Fever Pitch (2005).

The museum was home to Samuel McLaughlin and his family from 1917 to 1972.

McLaughlin was a Canadian businessman who started the McLaughlin Motor Car Company in 1907 which is now known as General Motors of Canada.

George, who graduated from York University with a degree in History and Anthropology says it brings an atmosphere that can’t be created as a set.

“You could easily build any of the rooms in Parkwood,” says George. “But what the studio build cannot recreate is the depth of looks through the windows and the hallways.”

The natural presence of the historical monument is something many directors and producers are after.

“Parkwood is number four in top sites that Canada shoots at,” says George.

According to the National Post, Parkwood Historic Site is only topped by Niagara Falls, Banff National Park and the University of Toronto.

The site is now well known in the film industry with Guillermo del Toro even contacting George herself when he wanted to film Nightmare Alley (2021).

A small drive up Simcoe Street will bring you to Ontario Tech University.

At the university, they have a wind tunnel which is also a popular filming location in the city.

The wind tunnel, which is used for many things such as automobile testing and athlete training, has been the home to many film productions.

ACE Marketing Manager, Andrew Karski says filmmakers want to come to the wind tunnel for its high-tech look.

“Producers can save time and money by shooting in our high-tech buildings, labs and offices as well as our university campus locations on the same day,” says Karski.

Will Smith and Scott Eastwood even filmed scenes for Suicide Squad (2016) at the wind tunnel.

According to Ontario Tech University’s website, the multi-purpose centre has an area approximately 16,300 square metres.

Not only do they offer a large and advanced space for filming but they will extend their hours to productions who come by to shoot.

If a production is looking for a crowded arena scene to film, the Tribute Communities Centre is a handy spot for filmmakers.

Home to the Oshawa Generals, the arena has been a filming location for The Love Guru (2005) and TV show Designated Survivor (2016).

In a quote on the Tribute Communities Centre website, Designated Survivor location manager Fred Kramping said that the venue was very smooth and that it will be used if a future script requires a similar scene.

Kramping also notes that the in-house catering service will be talked about for many years to come.

The Parkwood Historic Site, Ontario Tech Univeristy’s Wind Tunnel and Tribute Communities Centre are only three of the almost endless filming opportunities in the city.

Locations all across Oshawa as well as Durham Region receive great praise and the film industry warms up to Oshawa more and more each time a movie or show is filmed in the city.

Though Oshawa is a small place, Guillermo del Toro asking specifically to film his movie in the area should be a sure sign that it is becoming a heavy hitter in the film industry.