TORONTO — Canada has earned the nickname Hollywood North due to the large number of films and TV shows that are filmed in cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
But the country has also provided the backdrops for music videos by many international artists.
They are drawn to the deep pool of creative talent (including acclaimed video directors like Floria Sigismondi and Director X), typically favourable exchange rates and generous tax credits.
Sometimes it’s little more than a result of good timing — rapper 50 Cent shot the video for “God Gave Me Style” on the shores of Lake Ontario because he was in Toronto making the movie Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
The centre of music video production seems to be Ontario, where dozens of domestic and foreign acts have shot videos over the past three decades.
Here are six music videos by international artists that were made in the province. Combined, they have racked up more than a quarter-billion views.
Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”
Released in October 2014, the official music video for the lead single from Fall Out Boy’s album American Beauty/American Psycho was filmed at the Fort Henry National Historic Site in Kingston, Ont. The “giant” in the video is played by 6’5″ Toronto actor and stuntman Jon Ambrose. Online, where the video has been viewed more than 33.8 million times, a message reads: “Made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.”
Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
Tears for Fears – “Head Over Heels”
British director Nigel Dick shot the video for UK duo Tears for Fears’ single in May 1985 inside the Emmanuel College Library at the University of Toronto. In addition to singers Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, its cast of characters included Canadian model Joan Densmore as a bespectacled librarian — and a chimpanzee. Funny how time flies.
Kelly Clarkson – “Already Gone”
The video for the third single from the U.S. singer’s fourth studio album, All I Ever Wanted, was shot in June 2009 inside The Carlu, an event space located on the top floor of Toronto’s College Park. (Clarkson also made the video for “Behind These Hazel Eyes” in the city.) The video, directed by Joseph Kahn, has been viewed online more than 39 million.
Thirty Seconds to Mars – “The Kill (Bury Me)”
Also filmed inside The Carlu were many of the interiors for the video for the American band’s second single from A Beautiful Lie (you’ll recognize the Lalique fountain from Clarkson’s “Already Gone” video). The event venue doubled as a hotel lobby for the video (the room number 6277 spells out “Mars” on a phone keypad) but the hallway scenes were shot inside an actual hotel. Singer Jared Leto has said the video, which has been viewed online more than 46 million times, was inspired by The Shining.
Marilyn Manson – “The Beautiful People”
Directed by Toronto’s Floria Sigismondi, the video for the American shock rocker’s lead single from the album Antichrist Superstar was made in 1996 inside an old building at the Gooderham and Worts distillery in Toronto. The video, seen more than 51 million times online, was nominated for Best Rock Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.