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Reel Toronto: Suits

This show about New York power players almost manages to hide the fact that it's shot in Toronto. Almost.

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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Once again we’re dipping our toes into the warm water of TV productions, in recognition of the fact that where Toronto was once home largely to B-grade series (Relic Hunter, anyone?) more and more quality shows are choosing to shoot up here.

Suits, set in the heart of Manhattan, certainly fits into that category. It’s about to head into its third season, but for the purposes of this post, we’re only going to look at the first. The show’s way of mixing in a few stock New York City shots with our own scenery is actually fairly impressive; it makes for a convincing illusion.

Television shows being longer than feature films, it’s a good bet that we’ve missed some spots, but here’s our best go at a relatively comprehensive guide to season one.

Like, our first shot here could almost pass for New York, right? Maybe it’s not so obvious that’s a Toronto Sun box, but a good Torontonian knows we’re actually right here, on Wellington Street (and hey, there’s the Sun box! It’s famous!).

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Suits seems to shoot in every single corner of the financial district. There are lots of little places they hit along the way, but let’s start with two of the biggies. The fictional law firm, Pearson Hardman, is based in the Bay-Adelaide Centre. We see lovely establishing shots like this…

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…and shots of the lobby…

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…and lots of shots of the outside…

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…including this one, where you can see a sign for Scotia Plaza and some of the Trump Hotel construction across the street.

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The office interior, of course, is merely a set. Whether you’re seeing a daytime scene like this…

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…or a night one like this, the amazingly convincing background is actually a fancy translight, which is itself a fancy word for a big huge, well-lit picture.

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These lawyers also like to eat out a lot! Here they are at Bymark!

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This is the lovely bar at Luma (note the billboard for nearby Marcel’s in the background) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox…

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…and this is the patio…

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…and so is this (now you can note Metro Hall in the background).

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Sushi? Why not! Here they sup at the now-departed Rubino joint, Ame.

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Something even fancier? Howsabout walking into the Rosewater Supper Club…

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…and hanging out with Gary Cole upstairs?!

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This isn’t a meal so much as a power meeting, but it’s in the lovely Ritz Carlton hotel’s lobby.

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A bit more downscale are Swish by Han

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…a snack at Crepe it Up, on Church Street

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…this little walk past Pizzaiolo, at Sheppard and Adelaide streets

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…and drinks at South of Temperance, right next door to our Bay-Adelaide home base.

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They actually do a pretty good job disguising the non-New Yorkness. One episode, for example, opens with a bicycle racing through the city, blending actual shots of New York…

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…and rapidly cutting to the bike zipping through Toronto…

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…and past the Cloud Gardens.

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Here’s another bit out on Bay Street, looking up towards Old City Hall.

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Not far away, here we are getting out of a taxi at Bay and Queen streets…

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…and meeting Gary Cole, again, at Old City Hall.

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That’s not the only hall on display. Here’s a fancy car show…

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…at Roy Thomson Hall.

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This was a fun one to figure out. They visit this house, supposedly out in Brooklyn, on a street with lots of red houses.

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A later scene reveals the lovely “Hey Apathy!” mural in the background. That and the icon on the left reveal the house to be 77 Wolseley Street.

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We also go condo shopping outside…

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…and inside One King West. Ooh, la la.

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A bit further otuside the financial district, this federal government building, seen from the oustide…

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…and in…

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…is actually 900 Bay Street, better known as the provincial government offices, at Wellesley Street.

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But we’re not done by a long shot! This is supposed to be the periphery of Central Park, but it’s actually Berczy Park. One of the amusing subtexts of the show is that if you add a street-food vendor, Toronto looks a lot more like New York. Dare to dream.

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Indeed, if there’s any idea this show gives us that’s more clever than developing a workable street-food program, it’s dropping a lovely cafe…

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…in front of Allan Gardens.

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This fancy shmancy hotel…

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…is actually the Royal York…

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…seen in a couple of different episodes…

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…and also recognizable from the outside. (Recognizable to us. Americans might be wondering what to make of Tim Hortons and Porter which, yes, we know are increasingly prevalent down there.)

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Bardi’s is right across the street from the hotel, as is this rather obvious Green P sign.

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Watch enough episodes and the bike poles and Green P signs kind of jump out at you, actually. (This one is on Scott Street, with the King Eddie visible in the back.)

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Credit to the producers, they hung American flags…

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…and dropped US Post boxes and USA Today boxes just about everywhere…

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…but if, like us, you’re a loser who watches the backgrounds, you see dead giveaways that we’re actually in Toronto, like this sign…

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…this garbage can…

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…this New York banner clashing with the TTC pole and “Queen Street” sign…

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…this TTC stop…

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…and, despite the signs, this subway entrance.

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Maybe by now you’re done with Suits, but it’s not done with you. Howzabout this car crash on Scott Street? We haven’t seen that street since, like, 30 seconds ago!

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Or this scene, in which they’re apparently coming out of a club on Peter Street…

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…complete with the Rogers Centre hiding in the back?

We’re a bit behind the curve here, as seasons two and three have already aired. We can’t imagine there’s much south of Queen Street they didn’t hit in the first season, but we’ll check out the later episodes in due course, just to be sure.

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