How the Neighborhood of ‘A Christmas Story’ Has Changed Decades Later
Everybody loves A Christmas Story, the classic yuletide tale about the wonder of childhood, the seductive lure of firearms and one father’s midlife crisis that manifests as horniness for a severed leg in fishnet stockings. Fans of the film are so passionate about it that Ralphie’s house has been memorialized as the “Christmas Story House & Museum.” You can even relive the magic of the movie by paying to spend the night in the house. You can probably find someone to fire a BB directly into your cornea on Christmas morning for a little bit extra, too. (Or just watch all of the sequels for a similar effect.)
While the house and some of the other real-life locations are in Cleveland, where A Christmas Story takes place, most of the movie was shot in Toronto. And even though they haven’t been as painstakingly preserved as the house, you can still visit some of the movie’s iconic sites (and make it a double feature with the Scott Pilgrim ones) if you know where to look — although they don’t exactly scream “1940s middle America” these days.
Take the Christmas tree lot, where Ralphie’s old man haggles for a tree and some free rope. The gap between buildings on Toronto’s Queen Street is still there, but now it houses the patio of a trendy bar, which presumably doesn’t offer customers any free rope with their purchase.
As for the Chinese restaurant, where Ralphie’s family ends up having Christmas dinner during the regrettable racist caricature-filled portion of the film, the building is still there and is still home to a restaurant. But while the exterior looks similar, now it’s an “intimate French bistro” that’s unfortunately closed on Christmas.
Ralphie’s school still exists in a town just outside of Toronto, but it’s subsequently been converted from a school into “a 40-bed shelter for abused women.”
Less clear is where precisely the labyrinth system of alleyways Ralphie routinely wanders through was shot. However, I’m fairly certain that this street is where Ralphie finally loses his temper with Scut Farkus.
It’s hard to tell since there’s no plaque or anything. But in fairness, a “Christmas Story Back Alley Where the Bully Gets the Snot Beat Out of Him Museum” probably wouldn’t sell many tickets.
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