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Reel Toronto: Frequency

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
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Frequency is certainly better than your average shot-in-Toronto thriller, and not just because it makes such subtle use of local locations that you’d never notice.
Basically there’s this dude and due to a plot device/cool scientific thing, he’s able to talk to his dad on a ham radio, thirty years in the past. Then there’s some murderer running loose so, naturally, they team up to catch him. You know how that is.
The point is, Toronto gets a chance to provide some New York settings in both 1969 and 1999 and has a fine time doing it.


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This is one of those tricky moves to spot, because the filmmakers actually made some effort to disguise the fact they weren’t shooting in New York the whole time. Also, it’s been ten years since the shoot so some of the locations are just plain gone.
Take these various bar scenes. We admit it’s tough to be sure on any of them but this grungier location seems to be Stoopy’s Bar on Dundas, also used in The Ref.
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Here’s another bar! It’s undergone a major reno since new owners took over but we know they shot scenes at The Paddock and the equally renovated Gladstone Hotel. So, we suspect this is the latter’s historic Melody Bar
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…and this is the former.
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This hippie-dippy bar, which looks a bit Austin Powers-ish, is easier to spot. If you can’t see it in the above shot…
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…you can see in this one that it’s definitely The Opera House.
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As you can tell from that bit, the film moves a lot between 1969 and 1999. This scene takes place in 1969 so the retro diner just gets to kinda be itself. The scene was shot at “The Goof,” the Garden Gate diner, also out on Queen East.
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The neighbourhood in which Dennis Quaid and family live is way across town, in Bloor West Village.
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This 1999 police station set was built at the Hearn Generating Station. Effectively mothballed since the mid-’80s, it still cuts a fine figure on the Beach skyline and provides a nice playground for urban explorers.
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Oh, and we’re throwing this shot in because—hey!—it’s a young Michael Cera!

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