It has taken star turns in Orphan Black, Designated Survivor and Fahrenheit 451.
Last fall, it scared the wits out of movie audiences as a dark, creaky, cobwebbed home to Pennywise the Dancing Clown in Stephen King’s horror blockbuster It.
Built in 1902, the two-storey Cranfield House at the northwest corner of Pape and Riverdale avenues is in greater demand than ever.
“There have been 11 productions that have been issued permits to film there since 2015,” said Shane Gerard, a spokesman for the City of Toronto.
That popularity has brought complaints from some local residents about inconveniences during film production, including noise and road closures. However, Gene Lee, owner of Atomic Age Comics on Pape Avenue near Bain, isn’t one of them.
“I haven’t experienced any inconveniences due to filming at the Cranfield House,” said Lee, who sees the film industry as just “regular people going to work and doing their jobs.
“I think film productions are good for the film community. They provide jobs for people who are in the film industry who do, in turn, spend their money in their communities, so you could say the industry is good for the community as a whole.”
The mansion has also been a target for developers.
“It’s a hot commodity,” said Anna Michaelidis, owner of Royal LePage Urban Reality. “The neighbourhood is amazing, and it’s a sought-after location that local developers have been looking at.
“There were talks recently about a deal to purchase the house for $3 million, but it wasn’t confirmed and it is possible the deal just fell apart.”
Plans to redevelop the area with a 28-unit condominium have also surfaced, but “there has been no formal announcement on the condos,” Michaelidis said.
Redeveloping the Cranfield House is complicated because it is protected under
the Ontario Heritage Act.
“That makes it difficult for developers to remodel it and maintain its historical significance,” Michaelidis said.
The lack of attention paid to the aging building does not sit well with Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 30 (Toronto-Danforth), who said she “would look forward to it being restored at the earliest possible time, but it’s under private ownership now and the city doesn’t have any control over private owners.”