Starting my 8-week internship with the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, I have to admit that I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I was familiar with the LGIC beforehand as a student at Humber and, like many people, the history of movies filmed on the grounds was immediately interesting to me. During my first week I learned of the collection of movie posters waiting to be put up in the first-floor exhibit space: pretty cool, I thought. But the big exhibit was the one going into Room WEL-104 about the Lakeshore Teacher’s College and I was sure that’s where most of my help would be needed so I promptly set aside my curiosity about the movies.
Before I knew it, two weeks into my internship, the team told me that they were going to trust me to curate the movie hallway exhibit myself (with an appropriate amount of guidance, of course). We had a collection of 10 movie posters (9 originals that were released along with the movies, and 1 reprint) to go up in the hallway and it was my job to write the informational texts that were going to go along with them. A little daunted, but definitely eager, I began to delve into the film production history of the Lakeshore Grounds.
Soon, I was tracking down grainy copies of 80s movies on YouTube and digging through piles of screenshots and research. Much of the heavy lifting had already been done for me, in the form of research prepared for the series of walking tours the LGIC contributed to Doors Open Toronto in May 2018 and a digital exhibit created by Maya Modzynski for the CHIME Digital Exhibit project. I was left to re-find the information that had been tucked away and pull out the bits that were particularly noteworthy.
I was in luck: I found more than enough material to build an interesting exhibit and Lights, Camera, Lakeshore began to take shape! Over the nearly 40 years of movie history that the exhibit spans, plenty of great stories have come from the productions filmed on the Lakeshore Grounds. My interest was particularly piqued when I learned that part of the Richard Burton movie Equus was filmed on the grounds – though I quickly learned that Burton himself never filmed here and I was probably just as disappointed as the fans who hoped to catch a glimpse of him back in the 1970s. Plenty of other celebrities however, like Robert DeNiro, Patti LaBelle and Jared Leto – to shamelessly name drop a few – have made appearances on campus. The productions moved all around the grounds, using all of the buildings and much of the shoreline and open spaces. The picturesque location of the cottages, the versatility of the underground tunnels, and the enticingly low price tag were enough to bring Hollywood to the Lakeshore Grounds for decades. Filming on the site continues to this day, the latest production to use Humber as a location having filmed on July 12-13th, 2018 (the name of the production has yet to be released).
Lights, Camera, Lakeshore is now open in the first-floor hallway exhibit space in the Student Welcome and Resource Centre and can be visited during the building’s regular hours!