The Psychotronic Tourist: “THE FLY”

fly2

In anticipation of the recently unveiled David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibit and career-spanning film series at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox cinema, will be rolling out a series of Psychotronic Tourist columns dedicated to revisiting the old haunts of David Cronenberg.

Here, two psychogeographers in acute Canadiana, Joshua Wright and David Bertrand, took a stroll around Cronenberg’s hometown of Toronto, snapping a few “then & now” stills from THE FLY (1986) (Also check out their tour of locations from DEAD RINGERS, here).

All “now” photos by Joshua Wright, unless stated otherwise. Text by David Bertrand.

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#1. Seth Brundle’s Lab (exterior) – 135 Liberty Street, Toronto

Geena Davis’ Veronica Quaife approaches Seth Brundle’s lab inside, inside the crumbling industrial complex at 135 Liberty Street, in Toronto’s Liberty Village. Many similar structures in the area have since been completely renovated, housing offices for Toronto’s film, television, and digital media industries. For animation buffs, this building once housed the office of Nelvana.

Then:

Fly_Building1_Then

Now:

Fly_Building1_Now

A view of the alley entrance to Brundle’s lab, and a good example of how this area, one of the oldest settlements in the city, had fallen into neglect and decay before undergoing rejuvenation and gentrification in the last couple decades. The building on the left is the back wall of The Roastery, a coffee and sandwich shop with really superb burritos.

Then:

Fly_Building2_Then

Now:

Fly_Building2_Now

#2. The Hospital – 585 University Ave, Toronto

This is the hospital where Veronica is driven by ambulance (in a dream), impregnated with a giant fly grub. The camera is positioned at the entrance to Toronto General Hospital, looking across University Avenue towards Mount Sinai Hospital, at 585 University Ave.

Then:

Fly_Hospital_1986

Now:

Fly_Hospital_2013

#3. Monolith Publishing – corner of St. Paul’s Square and Asquith Avenue, Toronto

Not much has changed at the office of Monolith Publishing, Veronica Quaife’s office. This building can be found at the corner of St. Paul’s Square and Asquith Avenue, just north of Bloor Street. Note the trademark yellow fire hydrants of Toronto popping up again, as seen in the Dead Ringers tour HERE.

Then:

Monolith3_Then

Now:

Monolith3_Now

A close-up of the dome. The imprint of the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (ManuLife Financial) was stamped over by Monolith Publishing.

Then:

Monolith_Then

Now:

Monolith_Now

A wider look at the same building. Top image is from 1986, bottom is from 2013.

Then:

Monolith2_Then

Now:

Monolith2_Now

#4 – Kensington Market – corner of Augusta Ave and Baldwin St, Toronto

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and Veronica Quaife stroll through pedestrian friendly Kensington Market, at the corner of Augusta Avenue looking east down Baldwin Street. The shops have changed, the Kensington vibe remains the same.

Then:

Fly_Kensington_Then

Now:

Fly_Kensington_Now

#5. – The Diner – Formerly 5270 Yonge Street, Toronto (Now closed)

This one was a bit of a bummer. We searched for John Anderson Charcoal Broiled Hamburgers at 5270 Yonge Street, at the corner of Ellerslie Avenue in North York. But the restaurant and other nearby businesses have been demolished and replaced by this building, housing Duca Financial Services. John Anderson’s burger joint actually moved up the road to 5653 Yonge Street, but that has also since shut down, replaced by a burrito place called Burrito Place.

Then:

Fly_Burger_Then

Now:

Fly_Burger_Now

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For more information about David Cronenberg: Evolution, and related events at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, visit here: http://tiff.net/cronenberg/exhibition

About the author:

David Bertrand

David Bertrand is the Operations Manager for the Fantasia International Film Festival, a writer for Fangoria Magazine and DJ at Toronto's Fear Street.

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