About an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles is the desert community known as Canyon Country. While its population of nearly 60,000 people wouldn’t normally be considered small, it is dwarfed by the millions who live just south in the greater L.A. area. At first glance it may seem like an unsuspecting suburbia, but take a closer look and you’ll find a few hidden gems, thanks to its world famous neighbor, Hollywood.

Drive was released in 2011, and stars Ryan Gosling, Carrey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Ron Perlman. It was universally hailed by critics and was moderately successful at the box office, raking in 77 million on a tiny budget of 13 million. A pivotal point in the movie involves Ryan Gosling’s character, who is simply known as “The Driver,” being involved in the robbery of a pawn shop, which causes the film’s plot to take a turn for the worst.

Pawn shop from Drive (2011, FilmDistrict, screen capture)
This place is about an hour drive outside of Hollywood in Canyon Country, a smallish desert town in Santa Clarita.

It’s common for Hollywood to use everyday locations and disguise them in a way to suit their film’s needs, which is definitely the case in Drive. Little does the audience know that this so-called “pawn shop” is in fact a multi-purpose community center, which houses a soup kitchen, pool, and children’s summer camp. This is quite ironic considering the dark, turbulent nature of the film.

Pawn shop from Drive (2011, FilmDistrict, screen capture)

The building is given a modest makeover for its starring role, including a new sign, neon lights in its barred windows, and an installed, swinging glass door to add a store-like quality.

Pawn shop from Drive (2011, FilmDistrict, screen capture)
The building is actually a community center where they have a soup kitchen, pool, and children’s summer camp.

It was simply by chance that I drove by this otherwise normal looking structure, but once I’d recognized it, I had to make a U-turn to confirm what I’d seen.

Pawn shop from Drive (2011, FilmDistrict, screen capture)
Elk statue and apartment homes.

Meeting a celebrity is always fun, and likewise, recognizing a celebrity location has its own excitement.

The “pawn shop” from Drive / Elk Lodge is located at 17766 Sierra Hwy in Canyon Country, CA 91351


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The author of this guest article is Diana, a film lover from Los Angeles. She enjoys science fiction, drama, and action movies.

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