The X-Men once used a Burlington park to stand in for New York City

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Published November 22, 2023 at 3:10 pm

X-Men movie film Jackman Halle Marvel super
With feet planted firmly on Burlington soil Wolverine eyes the Statue of Liberty.

It was back in 2000 when the superhero movie craze began and Burlington was right there to help it start.

After years of planning, the X-Men was the first out of the gate and the movie producers chose Canada as the place where filming would take place.

When the movie came out, some locations were instantly recognizable: Casa Loma, Roy Thomson Hall, the Distillery District and Central Tech high school, all in Toronto, were highly visible.

But when it came time for a shift in locations, the filmmakers chose a Burlington park as the backdrop for the climatic scene.

It may take a very keen eye to notice, but Spencer Smith Park was used to serve as Liberty Island, the home of the Statue of Liberty, and where the X-Men gather to fight their nemesis Magneto.

Unfortunately, film crews set up for overnight shooting at the lakeside park which made celebrity sightings a little difficult.

Still, that didn’t stop a small group of fans from gathering near the park when filming began.

One such participant was Amy Dunbar who stayed out late on a school night in the hope of catching a glimpse of a movie star.

“I wanted to see Hugh Jackman or Halle Berry but no luck,” said Dunbar. “Everybody was quite excited by it but there wasn’t a lot of publicity surrounding the filming. We just heard about it by way of  mouth and decided to hang out.”

Ironically, Dunbar said she got to say hello to Jackman years later when she was visiting Los Angeles and spotted him at a coffee shop. “I said ‘hi’ and he said ‘hi’ back,” she laughs.

Even today movie watchers will have a difficult time recognizing Burlington. The film is set in New York so background shots show the Manhattan skyline while scenes inside the Statue of Liberty were staged in a Toronto studio.

Still, when it comes to the superhero genre, Burlington can stake a claim for being there at the beginning…or (spoiler alert) in the case of the villain Magneto, the ending of his treacherous scheme…for now.

 

Spencer Smith Park is used in the original X-Men movie. The Burlington skyline was replaced by that of Manhattan for the film.

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