The first 20 seconds alone of The Weeknd’s music video for “Secrets” are sure to strike a chord with U of T students, who will recognize the interiors of the Toronto Reference Library and the university’s Scarborough campus. “Secrets” reveals that no woman has the ability to keep anything from Abel Tesfaye, even in the midst of the city itself.
It’s no surprise that Toronto has lent itself to yet another blockbuster music video. In the past, Drake somehow convinced Rihanna to shoot the music video for “Work” at The Real Jerk. Finally, there seems to be a trend pushing artists toward using Toronto as Toronto, not as a stand-in for New York City or another American metropolis.
Due to its location in the heart of the city, U of T is full of potential filming locations. The campus’ mix of architectural styles and its beautiful landscapes would make for electrifying frames, perfect for busting some moves. Here are four locations on campus that would be perfect for the next music video featuring the city.
Trinity College Quad
The quad at Trinity College — isolated, nostalgia-inducing, and full of people who sit nearby yet seem so far out of reach. It’s the perfect setting for a new Drake video. Drizzy has represented Toronto in a couple of videos, including while jetting over the city in “Started From The Bottom.” If he were pursuing his latest fling, or any of the other women he frequently sings about, the peaceful quad would be the perfect location for seduction. Bonus points if he made it in time for winter, when the sad, bare trees lining the quad droop lower than his expectations of other people.
Hart House Theatre
This one is a given, both because of the stage lighting and the echoes of former great artists. What music video concepts could arise from the depths of one of Toronto’s oldest theatre houses, you ask? Six words: Ed Sheeran, middle row, centre seat. Sheeran could play the director falling for the young ingenue who shows up late but still catches the attention of everyone’s favourite redhead. Drama is risky business, but the walls of Hart House have seen love and tragedy at their finest.
The new renovations to the Faculty of Law’s library are dope — the ceilings are high, the natural lighting is blindingly bright, and the clean white walls make for a perfect minimalist aesthetic. The idea of shooting a music video in Bora Laskin is straight up rebellious, and it’s actually kind of revolutionary: the librarians are sticklers for quiet time, and you’ll usually find only the most stressed students here, cracking open the heaviest of textbooks. Kanye West would revel in creating over-the-top, obnoxiously chaotic madness in the secluded space of the library. On an everyday basis, the library isn’t a place for high-pitched or low-pitched anything, but Kanye could change that.
The concept of juxtaposing music video prospects with this serious, columned building could lead to some great ideas. The extended hallways of Con Hall might offer refuge to long-skirted women in flower crowns, warm contrasts to the building’s ghostly interior. Perhaps Taylor Swift’s next squad-only video could find a home here. There’s no need to worry about keeping the Con Hall song options limited to tearjerking love ballads, though — the natural rise of panic upon entering the building seems to turn on the waterworks just fine.