October 19th, 2009
Even in Francophone Quebec, Montreal stands out as decidedly European. That’s why so many film productions head to the Canadian city, using it as a stand-in for everything from Moscow to Paris. The folks over at the Metro just did a round-up of the Canadian city’s on-screen cameos including blockbuster flicks like ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and ‘The Aviator’, which got us thinking about our northern neighbor. Find out where you can see Montreal in the movies, after the jump…
Montreal City Hall (275 rue Notre-Dame Est, Montreal; 514-872-0077): Old Montreal’s grand, 19th-century City Hall strikes an imposing presence, which is one reason why Martin Scorsese chose it to play a courthouse where an increasingly unstable Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) in 2004′s ‘The Aviator‘. The building is designated as a National Historic Place of Canada and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free group tours are offered daily from in English, provided you schedule in advance. To get there take the metro to the Champ-de-Mars station.
Rue Saint-Paul: With its cobblestones and old-world charm, this historic street in Old Montreal stood in for Moscow in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘ — after a little snow was added, of course. To see it for yourself head to Bonsecours Market at 350 Rue Saint-Paul Est. (514-872-7730). There you’ll find art galleries, boutiques and cafes that rival Paris. In the film you may not recognize the market; its signature silver dome was changed to become “more Russian”.
Place d’Youville: Another Old Montreal (or as the French-Canadians say, Vieux-Montréal) landmark remade for the big screen, the Place d’Youville is a popular public square which runs from the Place Royale to McGill Street. In 2002′s ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind‘ the square stood in for Berlin, complete with a recreated section of the Berlin Wall. You won’t see the square’s famous obelisk in the film, though; it was transformed into an observation tower.
images via iStock.