Pixar keeps it real with ‘Turning Red’

of Pixar Turning red promises to be a new addition to the most related genre: the history of coming of age.

Directed by storyboard artist Domee Shi, the film follows 13-year-old student Meilin Lee. Mei, as it happens, “puffs” on a huge red panda every time she gets emotionally charged. Kids these days.

We received two trailers before it opened on March 11th and one of the most exciting things for me is that the animated fantasy has a real life setting: my hometown of Toronto, Canada.

Turning red not the first Pixar story set in the city, it was the fantastic short of 2018 Bag, also directed by Shi, who is Chinese-Canadian. But it’s the studio’s first feature film in town and the first for any Disney costume.

Toronto regularly portrays other cities in the movies, so it’s really great to see it. (I’m still waiting for Disneyland North, though.)

As a local born and raised, I thought it would be fun to dissect the trailer references for an international audience. Pixar’s commitment to creating authentic representations of real places and cultures is definitely on display.

Daily attractions

While the plans we’ve seen so far from the Toronto skyline seem more stylized (the main exceptions being the CN Tower and Rogers Center), many smaller details of city life are accurately represented. The design of the trams (Trailer No. 2, 0:10), the Ontario license plates (No. 1, 0:26) and the sidewalk trash cans (No. 2, 0:31) is correct.


Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and is proud of it. The Pixar version is no different. The composition of Mei’s best friends (No. 2, 0:01), other classmates, her teachers, the school security guard (No. 1, 0:24), and her neighbors have different backgrounds. . Expect Toronto’s historic Chinatown to be in full swing.


Lester B. Pearson Middle School (No. 1, 0:01) is not a real place, but it does share the same name with countless other Canadian schools and institutions. Pearson was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada (1963-68) and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, among other achievements.

The Timbits Box

Tim Hortons is a Canadian fast food icon, famous for his coffee, donuts and donut holes: Timbits (also now TimBiebs). So it’s fun to see the mark represented on the screen (No. 2, 0:49). We may have a special edition red velvet Timbits wardrobe until the opening day. Mmmmm.

Thinking of other global cities, where would you like Disney / Pixar to tell a story?

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