Stouffville

Let’s get started with the quaint little town of Stouffville, shall we? All of these locations on this page were places I didn’t know about until after my trip to Canada, so I haven’t been able to visit them in person yet. Over the years, visitors of this website were kind enough to contact me with info on some of these locations, including Karen’s house. I appreciate it so much – please keep it coming!

This was the home of Steck’s ex-girlfriend, Karen.

Here are a few of the emails I received regarding Karen’s house:

The interior of the Karen Black character’s house was in the same town, in the house where I grew up, on 18 Edward Street.  My dad had just recently built all of those cabinets in the kitchen before they asked to use the house for the shoot, which I recall took 2 or 3 days.  They came in and painted the white ceilings and walls blue (they had it repainted it when they were done).  I believe much of the film was shot in Lakefield, Ontario.  Haven’t seen it in many years, but I think the police cars have Lakefield on them.

I’m glad to be able to offer you some other bits of insight on some of the locations.  The set preparation done by the crew on the film was really impressive (as noted on your site, where they painted a whole barn for one shot).  I remember they painted the fire hydrant in front of our house to look like a little man, though I don’t think that made it into a shot in the film. Came upon your site with a google search for Martin’s Day after the subject of films shot in private homes came up in conversation.

Ahhhh look! There’s that fire hydrant!

Here’s the scene at Karen’s house, located at 18 Edwards Street, in Stouffville:

After leaving Karen’s house–a little over two-and-a-half minutes and two scenes later–Steckert and young Martin find themselves on Stouffville’s Main Street, for what I’ve determined as the movie’s most emotional scene (after the ending, of course). I won’t spoil it by detailing exactly what happens, but it’s amazing–and a pivotal turning point in the story. It’s just beautiful! Anyway, back to Main Street…

Trying (and failing) to find this specific town for my first Ontario visit was extremely frustrating, especially since it included a giant “Houston’s Rexall Drugs” storefront. Surely, I’d just have to Google that and I’d quickly be shown the exact address on Google Maps, right? Wrong. It was as if “Houston’s Rexall” was a completely fictional name. Nothing came up for it, anywhere. I would study that Main Street scene a hundred times and sadly wouldn’t be  able to find out the town’s name before my trip. It was very frustrating.

I thought it would’ve been easy to track down the town that was home of Houston’s Rexall Drugs.

Once again, a kind stranger’s email in 2010 informed me that this scene was from Stouffville, Ontario; it was actually the same email from above (Karen’s house). Special thanks to John for blowing the doors off this mystery for me:

Hi, came across your site today.  Can tell you that “Houston’s Rexall Drugs” was in Stouffville, Ontario (not in Orrville).  

Jim from the Stouffville Sun Tribune sent this, also in 2010:

Your contact was correct; some filming of Martin’s Day was done in Stouffville.

And I was working here at the time. Much has changed over time, but I can show you some of the locations when you visit, including the pharmacy (now a clothing store and speaker shop) and house where Richard Harris’ girlfriend (Karen Black?) “lived”.

It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but I believe it was all real storefronts. Houston’s amalgamated with another pharmacy about 5 years ago and moved.

Richard Harris went out for a stroll between shots and I set up a shot with him and some local teen girls on Main Street – he was very accommodating.

I cannot wait to get back to Ontario to visit Stouffville’s Main Street. Only bummer is, it has changed so much…it’s almost unrecognizable. Check out these comparisons below. I wouldn’t have recognized this storefront if I was standing right in front of it!

The drug store from Martin’s Day in 1983.

2020 (Google Maps)

I enjoyed messing around with Google maps, comparing other details from then and now on Main Street, Stouffville.

There’s a funeral home on the corner, across the street from Rexall.

Still there! New sign, updated exterior.

Paying attention to signs: Good Eat Restaurant, MaClean’s (?) Carpet Centre, Marguerite Shopper, Regal Steakhouse, etc. I wonder if any of these shops are still there?

Doen’t look like it! Marguerite Shoppe is now The Tipsy Cow…Carpet Centre is now The Meat Merchant…Good East Restaurant is now Pho Basil. Wow, how times have changed!

Check out Steck, escaping down this alley off of Main Street.

The façade of the building right after the alley has changed, but the pointy rooftop of the building just beyond it has not. Also, looks like the street light and crosswalk were removed.

Here’s Steckert in that alley, about to steal that truck. The writing on that truck says “Lakefield.” I loved how they tried so hard to make this town appear as Lakefield.

Some of the other movies shot in Stouffville over the years include: The Russell Girl, Who Killed Atlanta’s Children?, Strike! and The Dead Zone. TV shows filmed in town include The West Wing, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Nikita. Literally, just two nights ago while watching Schitt’s Creek, I discovered it had scenes on Main Street Stouffville. So cool!

Well, that’s it for our stop in lovely Stouffville. I’m really looking forward to visiting, hopefully in the near future. If you see a weird guy, walking up and down Main Street, with a camera…looking at tiny building details, lamp posts and street signs, that’s me! If you remember anything about the shops on Main Street in the 1980s, or the filming of Martin’s Day, please  contact me – I’d love to know any random info you have!

Oh, and here’s that awesome Main Street scene…I cued it up for you:

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    […] a few specific towns with multiple scenes (Toronto, Bolton and Stouffville), there were a number on one-off stops throughout southern Ontario. From a public school, to a […]

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