TORONTO — Thanks to Adam Sandler, an alien movie and a strange loophole in traffic law, you can now boldly park where no man has parked before.
A film shoot on Adelaide St. has removed all “no parking” signs between Yonge and York Sts. to disguise the area as New York City, a move that renders the bylaw useless and spells a parking free-for-all on the busy commuter route.
The signs were removed by Monday and won’t be reposted for at least a week, a city official confirmed. According to traffic laws, the “no parking” signs must be clearly posted in order for the rule to hold jurisdiction. No sign, no bylaw.
Crew at the shoot told the Star the urban makeover is for Pixels, a Sony Pictures film starring Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, and directed by Hollywood heavyweight Chris Columbus, best known for directing Home Alone. The movie follows video game experts who defend the Big Apple against a sudden alien attack of ’80s-inspired video game characters.
Removing street signs is “routine” during film shoots, Jensen said, and rush-hour concerns were addressed when the film applied for a temporary licence.
“This is done through extensive consultation with my staff, the Toronto Police and Transportation Services, along with the production,” he said, adding that the timing was chosen to avoid clashing with World Pride.
While parking cops have no legal authority to write tickets until the signs are reposted, police may be hired on the production’s dime to help manage the route if problems arise.
“If it becomes problematic, I don’t have a problem having the production bring paid-duty officers in advance and direct people not to park there,” Jensen said. “There are no costs incurred by the city to provide the service or address the issue.”
He added that police and transportation services are working together to ensure that traffic flows as usual.
The TTC has not experienced any change in service on the express route that travels through the film shoot during rush hour.
“It didn’t seem to affect service today or yesterday, so I guess we’ll see if that becomes a problem the rest of the week,” said Milly Bernal, TTC spokeswoman.
It won’t be the last time parking rules temporarily vanish from city streets this summer. More bylaw-free pockets are expected to pop up as the high-budget production moves from one Toronto filming location to the next.
“They are filming all over downtown. People may see that from time to time,” Jensen said.
Often called “Hollywood North,” Toronto has stood in for the likes of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and even Nice, France. On Adelaide St., a team of production artists has built an ersatz subway station, installed U.S. mailboxes and touched up fire hydrants with faux rust.
“We have this ability to be a chameleon, if you will,” Jensen said. “It just depends on the area of the city.”
He would not confirm whether the film is indeed Pixels, citing a city policy designed to avoid paparazzi and gawking fans.