Best American Films Shot In Ontario

By Thomas Leary
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The province of Ontario is well represented on screen in film, though it might not be the go-to backdrop in the minds of many fil fans the way Los Angeles is. But a combination of tax incentives and the low Canadian dollar has been drawing budget-conscious Hollywood studios north of the border for decades. A number of recent award-winning films were shot in Ontario. While sometimes Ontario stands in for American locations, the province also sometimes has the opportunity to play itself.

As you can probably already tell, we’re taking a break from covering legal Ontario sportsbooks to celebrate the best films set in Ontario. Here they are:

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Best American Films Shot in Ontario

Overall Rank Movie Total Points
1. The Shape of Water 701
2. The Witch 233.3
3. Good Will Hunting 200.3
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 181.3
5. Kick-Ass 179
6. Hairspray 168
7. It 167
8. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 140.7
9. Kingsman: The Secret Service 135.7
10. Pacific Rim 134.7 considered all the American films shot in Ontario, as listed on Wikipedia, a starting basis for the research. We then used IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes Audience score, Rotten Tomatoes Critic score and award recognition to create a weighted scoring system. We considered all award recognition (like the Golden Globes), not just the Oscars, hence the large skew in scores. 

Shape of Water Takes The Crown

Our No. 1 ranked film on this list, Guillermo del Toro’s 2017 “The Shape of Water,” was an Oscars darling. Nominated for 13 total Academy Awards, the film won Best Picture and Best Director, cementing del Toro’s standing as one of the top filmmakers of his era. It’s a unique watch, as the plot revolves around a mute who falls in love with a “fish man.” Yes, you read that correctly.

With a cast led by Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins, the film is an original story that managed to topple the likes of Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” at the Oscars. The film also earned 7 Golden Globe nominations, again winning Best Director for del Toro.

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Horror, Affleck-Damon and Comedies Round Out List

The list of our movies, much like the list of Ontario online casinos, rolls on. The No. 2 film is the 2015 release, “The Witch.” Robert Eggers directed the horror film about a family that encounters evil in the woods beyond their home. Eggers has since gone on to direct the cult classics “The Lighthouse” and “The Northman.” 

In third is the 1997 classic “Good Will Hunting,” which launched the careers of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and also got Robin Williams an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The movie was set in Boston but mostly shot in Canada, a fact that might annoy your Boston-based buddies as they quote their favorite scenes. 

Rounding out our rankings are several recent comedies, including No. 4 “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.” The cult film starred Canadian legend Michael Cera in one of his first roles after “Superbad” came out. At No. 5 is the 2010 black comedy “Kick-Ass,” in which young superheroes get the R-rated treatment. Made for just $28 million, the film went on to gross over $95 million and led to a sequel. 

Also making appearances are John Travolta at No. 6 in “Hairspray,” Stephen King’s reimagined “It” in 2017, and Colin Firth at No. 9 in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” 

Keep it here at for more pop culture coverage, plus reviews of Ontario sports betting apps.


Thomas Leary is a news editor and writer for He previously worked at Sports Business Journal for over 6 years, where he helped identify emerging sectors across sports business, such as legalized gambling, and helped launch the publication’s digital newsletter division.

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