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Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) of SCTV fame filmed their major motion picture at sights across the Greater Toronto Area - at times even jumping back and forth across city lines within a single scene. Perhaps most recognizable among the landmarks featured are Casa Loma, which stood in for the Elsinore Brewery, the Hearn Generating Station, which was relabeled as the Elsinore Brewery, and the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, which became the Royal Canadian Institute for the Criminally Insane.
Filming on the Lakeshore Grounds
Locations on the Lakeshore Grounds appear at the beginning and end of the film. Although less characteristically recognizable than other classic views from around the city, the grounds can nonetheless be identified in a variety of scenes.
Shoreline and Swallow Field
The low-budget post-apocalyptic film-in-the-film at the beginning of Strange Brew, "Mutants of 2051 A.D.," is set along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Bob McKenzie (Rick Moranis) is seen climbing along the rocky edge as he searches for beer. In the same segment, Bob "flies" in his van (along clearly visible ropes) across a field on the south-west side of the Lakeshore Grounds with the stack of the Powerhouse of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital clearly visible in the background. Today the location is divided between the Swallow Field in Colonel Samuel Smith Park and the Lakeshore Yacht Club.
East side of the Cottages
The east lawns of H, G, and F Buildings at Humber College's Lakeshore campus were the site of the troubled Oktoberfest where a batch of beer tainted with a mind-controlling substance is at risk of being consumed by the public. A big orange and white tent stood on the lawn of H Building while the McKenzie brothers raced up Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, stopping in front of G Building, to save the day.
Before it became known as "The Beer Store," the provincial retailer was known as "Brewers Retail." Strange Brew was refused use of the name "Brewers Retail" and were prevented from filming in any of the stores. Instead, Bob and Doug McKenzie visit a replica store (today a Tim Horton's / Pizza Pizza at the corner of Eglinton and Midland Avenues) - in a foreshadowing moment, they call the store "The Beer Store."
The plot of Strange Brew is loosely based on the plot of Hamlet - does the name Elsinore sound familiar? It's not only the name of the castle in Hamlet but also the brewery in Strange Brew. In the Shakespearean play, Hamlet's father is murdered by his Uncle Claudius; in Strange Brew, Pam Elsinore's father is murdered by her Uncle Claude. And what about Bob and Doug? They are loosely modeled on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
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