One of the greatest attributes of Martin’s Day, were the locations the film was shot in. The scenery is amazing! Filmed in Canada, Martin’s Day follows Steckert and Martin up through the state of Ontario, showing scenic highways, byways, towns, forests, beautiful blue skies, tree lined backroads, and gorgeous lakes. Martin’s Day could double as a commercial for Canadian tourism. The movie really showcases Canada’s wonders.
The part that takes the cake is Steckert’s old boyhood cottage on the lake. This is a beautiful two-story white house, perched right on the bank of a beautiful lake. The house has lots of windows and a big balcony that stretches across the front of the house, over the lake. The first floor of the house is actually a “boat garage,” where a canoe is stored, in the water; a garage-type door facing the lake opens, allowing the boat to float out onto the lake. Surrounding the house is a beautiful landscape, my favorite part being a huge rock that young Martin uses to jump off into the water.
I Wanna Go To The Lake
The scenes were so amazing and I was so inspired by this movie, that I have actually planned a trip to go canoeing in Ontario in the summer of 2005. Call me crazy, but this movie was so good and its scenes so beautiful, something inside me won’t rest until I am the one taking a canoe out onto that very lake. The only problem is–how do I find the lake??? The credits aren’t specific as to where exactly Martin’s Day is filmed–only a thanks at the end to the Ontario Film Commission. I have e-mailed the commission and have yet to receive a response. Any normal person would let it rest, but I guess I’m not normal.
Finding The Lake – The Clues
I took a few hours over Thanksgiving weekend to pop in the movie in again, but this time, for the strict purpose of watching and noting every piece of the scenery in the movie, and listening intently to any and all references of towns, locations and landmarks. I didn’t come up with a lot, but here’s what I did get, in chronological order…
At the start of the movie, when Steckert is telling Dr. Mennen about the lake, he refers to it being located “up there.”
When Martin hi-jacks the prison transport van, he is on Highway 400 North.
The name on the police vehicle Martin steals is Malvern Regional Police.
When Steck’s on the run, towards the beginning of the chase, he blows by a sign that says 50 North with an arrow to the left and 7 East with an arrow pointing straight ahead.
Further along in the journey, Steck and Martin stop to eat at The Halfway Cafe.
The duo stops at Steck’s old girlfriend’s house in a town called Lakefield.*
*I would later find out that the house used is actually in Stouffville, Ontario.
Martin’s ex-girlfriend mentions The Belmont Tavern.
After leaving Steck’s old girlfriend’s house, Steck asks Martin to find Highway 830.
In the town where Steckert sends Martin into a store by himself to get soda, the name of the store is Houston’s Rexall Drugs.*
*I would later find out that the store (and street) in this scene was located on Main Street in Stouffville, Ontario.
And here’s the final and most valuable clue in the entire movie: towards the end of the chase, Lt. Lardner, pointing a map, explains to his crew that Steckert’s train “stopped south of Orrville*.” Ah-HA! So Orrville, huh? That’s really the last clue in the movie, and the most specific.
*I would later find out that Orrville was not included in any filming locations.
I have almost given up on searching for the lake! No response from the Ontario Film Commission yet, and I have no idea where to look next. I even tried e-mailing the chamber of commerce for some of the towns surrounding the infamous Orrville, as well as realtors, and no response. Someone’s gotta know!
UPDATE March 3rd, 2005
I decided to make another attempt at contacting the Ontario Film Commission. This time I found a staff list on their website and emailed every employee asking for help! I also added the names of the Location Manager to the e-mail. I struck gold! The next day I received a nice e-mail from Suzanne Porter at the commission, saying she’d be happy to look into it. Then, two days later, she sent me this e-mail:
After some extensive digging by my colleague, Marty Dejczak, we think we might have solved the mystery of “The LAKE”!!!!!
Here is an excerpt of an email to Marty from Michael McDonald who was the original location scout on the project. He tracked down the Set Decorator who worked on the project, who now resides in the Maritimes, and he was able to give us these details:
The lake on Martin’s Day was actually two locations, one was Lake Joseph up in Muskoka and the other was at the mines in Nefton near Havelock, Ontario. He didn’t know what that lake was actually called but it was the only lake on the mine property and thus it sounds like it is on private property. Just as an aside it is only one of two places on the face of the earth where materials for the tiles for the space shuttle are to be found. The other is in Italy.
Hope this helps!! We owe all of our thanks to Marty’s hard work!
Acting Marketing Consultant
So there it is!!! After years and years, I now know that the house is on Lake Joseph, in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada! And I’m going there in June of this year!
Either way, I am going canoeing in Canada this summer. While searching for this magic lake, I came across an outfit that does guided canoe-tours, through the lakes and waterways of Canada. It looked pretty neat – the tours start at three days, and include the canoe, camping (tents, sleeping bags, etc.), meals, and a professional guide. Not only do you get to navigate through the beautiful lakes of Ontario, but apparently you can see some amazing wildlife, including moose…and of course the loons! Check out the camping trip here. I’ll take plenty of photos on the trip and post them on the website! Hopefully by then I’ll have a better idea where the lake is and be able to actually see “Martin’s House.”
UPDATE June 24th, 2005
I am almost ready to go to “The Lake!” Since my last update, I have discovered MANY clues, and talked to some special people that had roles in the movie!
First, I found a blurb on the internet about the transportation company used during the filming of Martin’s Day. I called Hammond Transportation in the town of Bracebridge and talked to Sue Campbell. She was able to tell me where Richard Harris and the crew stayed during production– Cleveland’s House on Lake Rosseau. I didn’t get many other details, but it was a step in the right direction!
My biggest score was actually tracking down Roy Krost, the PRODUCER of Martin’s Day! After searching the net for days and days, I couldn’t get contact information for anyone who worked on the movie. From the directors, all the way down to the “key grips” and “gaffers,” I came up with nothing! Then a friend told me about a Hollywood “directory” that had producers’ contacts in it. I ordered an old issue on eBay for ten bucks, and to my surprise, I found Roy Krost’s company’s name and number right there in the book!
I called and talked to someone at World Film Services, who called me back the next day with Mr. Krost’s HOME NUMBER! “Holy sh*t!” I thought. I couldn’t believe it. I was so nervous! I called Mr. Krost and he was really nice. Funny thing was, it seemed like I knew more about the movie than him! I must have sounded like a little boy talking to Santa Claus! I went on and on and on about what a great movie Martin’s Day was–naming scenes, and quoting quotes! I’m sure this guy thought I was a borderline nut job, but I didn’t care! I was happy just to be able to tell him how much the movie meant to me! I tried to get as many details out of Mr. Krost as I could, but didn’t get much. The bottom line was, he just didn’t remember many details. After all, the movie was over 20 years old, and he had done hundreds of pieces of work since then. I did get a few interesting tidbits though–like the big red barn young Martin hid in had to painted red just for the movie–then painted back to normal! I asked Mr. Krost which little towns the different scenes were filmed in and he couldn’t recall, but did mention that they used cities in between Toronto and Lake Joseph, along Highway 400. One sad piece of news he gave me though, was that the house on the lake was fabricated just for the movie, and torn down after the production. I couldn’t help feeling really sad knowing I would never be able to visit the actual house–I actually felt like someone had died–but I was probably better off knowing the real deal–I sure would’ve been frustrated if I would’ve made the whole trip and NOT found the house, thinking that it was still there and I just couldn’t find it.
UPDATE January 19th, 2006: Shame on me for not updating this website sooner, but I have been soooo busy with work and my many projects (I work in radio and own my own radio syndication company).
In July of last year, my girlfriend and I took a flight to Canada, with the sole purpose of seeing “The Lake.” You can read about our trip HERE!
UPDATE January 30th 2006: Mind blown. There were actually TWO lakes used in the movie – the magic of editing used to make it look like it was the same lake. Lake Joseph – shown as the unspoiled, tranquil lake from Martin’s childhood…then Big Mountain Lake at the end of the film, where the mines and industry were. Totally makes sense. And here’s how I found out:
The cottage on lake Joseph was on a peninsula, it had a back bay. The property was over a mile down a one lane road, off of maybe hwy # 69 ??, I wish I had a map here but I’m in Zihautanejo, have been for awhile now. There was a marina on the small road maybe a 1/4 mile off the highway. The boathouse gazebo on the lake in front of the house was something we built and removed. the people didn’t want to keep it although it was built to code. The remains of the house in Nephton was another build, in case you go back. Good hunting. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.
-Michael Brownstone (location manager)
(in 2022, I was devastated to learn about Michael’s passing.)
Not sure if you are still using this address but parts of the film were shot north of Havelock, Ontario south of the Nephton mine on the CP Rail line. The Hijacking was filmed at Peterborough County Road #44’s crossing with the CPR Nepthon sub at mile marker 10. My grandfather worked on the railway at the time on this train and the line is still used daily for the mines. Kosh/Kashabog Lake and Stoney Lake are lakes nearby that you might look at for other sites as well as 3 or 4 lakes on the mines properties.
[…] Farm But possibly the biggest score, besides finding out the location to the actual lake, was discovering where that big red barn was located. If you’ve seen the movie, you remember […]
The mine is actually in a little town called Nephton. The name of the lake at the mine is Mountain Lake.
I lived in this town at the time (my father was on staff at the mining facility) and my girlfriend and i sat on the back lift gate of a crew supply truck watching Richard Harris rehearse scenes until one of their crew kicked us off 🙂
That is AMAZING!!! On my list to visit, since I missed it last time. The film was filmed on two lakes – Lake Joseph and Mountain Lake. Fancy editing (a really good job) makes it look like all one lake.
Really appreciate you coming by – would love to know anymore tidbits you might have!