Hollywood North: Why does Hollywood make so many movies in Canada?

Did you know that some of your favourite movies were filmed right here in Canada? Learn about why the Canadian Film Industry continues to be a vital and thriving part of our economy.

If you pay close attention to the closing credits of the movies that you watch, you may start to notice a recurring pattern. That pattern is that many Hollywood movies you watch are produced right here in Canada! Just a sample of the many prominent examples of projects filmed here includes critically and commercially successful films such as the following.

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Toronto)
  • Juno (Vancouver)
  • The Shape of Water (Toronto)
  • Interstellar (Calgary)

Today we are taking a look at a few of the major reasons that so many movies are produced here and why Canada continues to be an incredible place for opportunities in the film industry.


What Is Hollywood North?

Hollywood North is a nickname that refers to major locations in the Canadian film industry.  It is most often used to describe the cities of Toronto and Vancouver. Toronto is home to the majority of Canada's national media outlets, as well as one of the industry’s biggest festivals, TIFF. Vancouver is the third largest film production city in North America, and represents the Canadian geographic equivalent to Los Angeles, being located on the west coast and in the same time zone.



The first reason for this substantial presence of Canadian filmed movies in Hollywood is the variety of incredible filming locations that exist across Canada.

There are numerous urban, suburban and rural areas across the country that serve all kinds of stories. Toronto is often used to double for large American cities such as New York and Chicago. Prominent Toronto movie locations include Younge & Dundas Square, representing Time Square, and Casa Loma, representing the X-Mansion from X-Men.

Places in BC are often used to double for American West Coast locations, such as Seattle or San Francisco.  Similarly, the vast open spaces of Alberta and Manitoba are often used to film Westerns sets in Texas.

Whatever kind of story that filmmakers are trying to tell, there is a location in Canada where they can tell it. 



Canada also offers the benefit of experiencing all four seasons, giving filmmakers a variety of different settings for their stories, as opposed to a location like California, where it is typically hot and dry all year round. There is also a variety of specialized studios in Canada, such as green screen and motion capture studios, which allow filmmakers to film any complex or specific shot they may need.



The next major reason for this is that the cost of filming in Canada is significantly lower than it is in the United States, with the stronger US Dollar being a huge contributing factor to this. Additionally, there are several tax initiatives that exist for producing film projects in Canada, including Ontario’s 21 percent all-spend production services tax credit, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC), which subsidizes 25 percent of all eligible costs of a film’s production.

Particularly after Covid-19 and the toll it took on the industry, many studios are trying to save money wherever possible, so the number of Hollywood projects being filmed in Canada will likely only grow in the future, with many exciting film projects set to be filmed here already on the horizon.



The final reason that Hollywood produces so many projects in Canada is all the talent that is available for hire here in the Great White North. Canada offers a variety of unique and emerging talent in the form of actors, writers, directors, producers, behind-the-scenes crew and more. There are countless examples of famous Hollywood films produced with Canadian crews and sets, including Mean Girls and Good Will Hunting. There is a multitude of experienced professionals who work in the Canadian film industry, as well as new talent, eager and ready to begin their careers working on Canadian movies.

The legacy of Canadian-filmed Hollywood movies is a lengthy and successful one that continues to this day. With the film industry in Canada only growing, you very well could be a part of the next major Canadian Hollywood production!

To learn more about our Film & Television Production and Post-Production Program, and how you can apply, visit the program page by clicking the link.


Works Cited

Finer, Alex. “10 Famous Movies You Didn’t Know Were Filmed in Canada.” Reader’s Digest Canada, 14 June 2022, www.readersdigest.ca/travel/canada/10-famous-movies-filmed-in-canada/.

Mahmud, Sanaa. “Toronto as a Setting: Its Past, Present, and Future in the Film Industry.” The Varsity, 16 Oct. 2022, thevarsity.ca/2022/10/16/toronto-as-a-setting-its-past-present-and-future-in-the-film-industry/#:~:text=One%20major%20reason%20that%20production,the%20Hollywood%20of%20the%20North.

Reeves, Ben. “10 Movie Locations You Didn’t Know Are around Toronto.” Iconic Toronto Places Depicted in Films – Go Guides, ca.hotels.com/go/canada/toronto-movie-locations. Accessed 1 June 2023.

Vlessing, Etan. “Why Hollywood Loves Canada: 4 Cities Offering Big Filming Incentives.” The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sept. 2016, www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/why-hollywood-loves-canada-4-926350/.



1. Why are so many TV shows and movies filmed in Canada?

There are several reasons that movies and TV are filmed in Canada. These include saving money because of government providing tax incentives for filming, and the diverse locations and landscapes valuable to use as settings.

2. What famous movies were filmed in Canada?

Numerous movies have been filmed in Canada over the years. Prominent productions include Brokeback Mountain (Alberta), Titanic (Halifax), Mean Girls (Toronto), Twilight (Vancouver), Good Will Hunting and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (both Toronto).

3. Why is it called Hollywood North?

The film industry in Canada, specifically the locations of Vancouver and Toronto is referred to as Hollywood North because of their northern geographic location in relation to Hollywood in California.

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