Michael J. Fox’s Childhood HomeJun 29th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Celebrity Homes
My good friend – and fellow stalker – Owen is an absolutely huge and longtime fan of actor Michael J. Fox. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that MJF is Owen’s Jennifer Aniston. So, when I found out that the Canadian-born actor grew up in Burnaby, British Columbia, the very same Vancouver suburb where my man Michael Buble also spent his formative years, I just about died and decided I had to try to track down his childhood home before my trip up to the Pacific Northwest. I immediately emailed Owen and asked him to skim through Michael J. Fox’s autobiography, Lucky Man: A Memoir, which I knew he had a copy of, to see if the actor gave any clues as to where his former abode was located. And, sure enough, he did! I should mention here that celebrity autobiographies and biographies are FABULOUS stalking tools as they almost always dole out the addresses of otherwise unknown stalking locations, but I digress. Anyway, Owen got right down to scanning through the book, which was first published in 2002, and quickly sent me back an email. As it turns out, while MJF didn’t actually disclose the exact location of his childhood abode, he did write a detailed enough description of it that Owen was able to track it down. YAY! Thank you, Owen!
In his autobiography, Michael J. Fox mentions that during the 1970’s he lived on the second floor of a three-story walk-up building named the Middlegate Apartments, which were located across the street from a “sprawling strip mall with an enormous parking lot perfect for endless hours of street hockey”. And while Googling the terms “Middlegate Apartments” got him nowhere, thanks to this Google Maps posting Owen was able to track down the location of the now-defunct strip mall with the large parking lot where MJF used to play. That strip mall was known as the Middlegate Shopping Centre and it was demolished in 2004 in order to make room for a new, more upscale complex named Highgate Mall. Once Owen had tracked down the former Middlegate Center’s address, it was simply a matter of using aerial maps to see if there was a three-story apartment building located across the street from it. And, sure enough, there was!
As a matter of fact, there were two! And while Owen and I were unable to discern which one of the the two very similar-looking, U-shaped buildings MJF used to call home, after visiting the place in person last month, I can say with 99.9% certainty that it was the one denoted with the blue arrow in the above aerial view.
Michael first moved into the Middlegate Apartments in 1971, at the tender age of ten, following his father’s retirement from the Canadian Army Signal Corps. According to the book, MJF spent quite a bit of time in the building’s “large, if indifferently maintained, outdoor swimming pool”, which, as you can see in the above photograph, has since been filled in with cement. It is because of that now-filled-in pool that I believe Michael lived in the eastern-most of the two buildings. While looking at the location using aerial maps, I had assumed that the two neighboring buildings were part of the same apartment complex, but after seeing the place in person, I now believe that they are actually two separate properties. And since the western-most building does not have a pool, nor does it look like it ever did, I am fairly certain that Michael J. Fox lived in the building located on the east. According to the book, Michael lived at the Middlegate Apartments until 1979 – the year he migrated south to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career in acting. And thank goodness he did, too, because just three short years later he was cast as one of the most iconic characters in television history – Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.
Sadly, I can’t really recommend stalking MJF’s former building, as it is a fairly depressing place, although I don’t believe it was that way forty years ago when Michael lived there. Today, the building is extremely run-down and has a very bleak air about it. As you can see in the above photograph, even the word “middle” is misspelled on the awing above the front door. I don’t even know what to make of that!!! (At least I think it’s misspelled, being that I’ve never heard of the word “midle”.) And while my original plan was to knock on the manager’s door to see if he or she might know the exact unit where MJF used to live, the place gave off such an unfriendly vibe (I could even hear some tenants yelling at each other through one of the apartment windows) that I decided to abort my mission. Such a bummer, too, as I had so wanted to track down and snap a picture of MJF’s former front door for Owen. Note to any celebrities who are currently penning an autobiography – please take a page out of Carol Burnett’s book (pardon the pun) and publish the exact location of your childhood home – including any apartment numbers, if need be! Hmph! Do I honestly have to think of everything? 😉
Big THANK YOU to Owen for finding this location!
Stalk It: The Middle Gate Apartments, where Michael J. Fox grew up, are located at 6961 Collier Street in Burnaby, British Columbia.