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culture

Reel Toronto: Nikita – Season 1 (Part Two)

Everybody's favourite female assassin goes globe-trotting while hardly leaving the borders of our fair city.

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.

2014 02 18 12 nikita2

And we’re back! If you missed it last time, we checked out the first 11 episodes of Nikita, everyone’s favourite sexy assassin show. We talked about the show’s complicated genealogy and explained how nutty it is that she flies all over the globe without actually leaving the GTA.

So instead of going over all that fascinating context again, we’re just going to dive right in and look at the back end of the season, which certainly holds its end up when it comes to heading to every nook and cranny of the GTA.

2014 02 18 12 12 eatonhall

Last time out, we saw both Parkwood Estate and Valley Halla, and here we have another cinematic manse, King City’s Eaton Hall, playing some kind of European castle–type place.

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We go inside, too.

2014 02 18 12 16 eatonhallagain

A couple of episodes later, we return (we forget if it’s supposed to be the same location) to the loveliest building Seneca College has got. Among other things, it provided the exteriors of William Hurt’s mansion in A History of Violence.

2014 02 18 12 12 duncan streetsigns

Back downtown, here we are on Duncan Street, with Metro Hall in the background, and you can see in the back there that they tried to put in some New York–style street signs.

2014 02 18 12 12 duncan cntower

And do our eyes deceive us or, as the camera moves, do we catch a glimpse of a little bit of the CN Tower poking out the top of Metro Hall?

2014 02 18 12 club mink pearlst

Episode 12 concludes with Lyndsy Fonseca visiting Pearl Street’s Club Mink.

2014 02 18 12 13 lobby3 koerner

The big set piece in the 13th episode is a gala event that takes place here…

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…in the lobby of the Royal Conservatory’s Telus Centre.

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You can even see a bit of the exterior beyond the entrance here.

2014 02 18 12 14 chateaumargeaux vaughanestates

Surfing the web, Nikita visits (and has flashbacks of a prior visit to) the very French Chateau Margeaux.

2014 02 18 12 14 chaletdriveway

It’s actually supposed to be in Quebec, but when she visits the site…

2014 02 18 12 14 chalet notquebec

…you can see it’s actually the Vaughan Estate, by Sunnybrook Hospital. (If you’re counting, this is already the second time Nikita has fake-visited Quebec. Zero fake visits to Ontario so far. Hmph.)

2014 02 18 12 14 border

When she crosses the American border, she’s actually at this fake location…

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…down in the Port Lands.

2014 02 18 12 14 humberbridge

Indeed, the wintry lakeshore is on fine display, and regardless of where in the world she’s supposed to be, she’s actually within sight of the Humber Bay Bridge.

2014 02 18 12 14 sunnyside2

And this clandestine meeting…

2014 02 18 12 14 sunnyside

…takes place at the Sunnyside Pavilion.

2014 02 18 12 14 oshawaairport 2

And, still in episode 14, we visit this small airport…

2014 02 18 12 14 oshawaairport

…actually, Oshawa Municipal Airport.

2014 02 18 12 17 stpetersburg apparently

The 17th episode takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and shots like this kind of make you feel like you might be there.

2014 02 18 12 17 stpetersburg libertygrand

But as we get closer, we realize, “Oh, yeah…that’s just the Liberty Grand,” (formerly the Ontario Government Building) on the Ex grounds.

2014 02 18 12 17 stpetes lakeshore

You can even see a bit of the Lakeshore here, when the bullets start flying.

2014 02 18 12 17 flashbacktheatre mississauga

In a flashback, we see this theatre, actually Hammerson Hall at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre.

2014 02 18 12 18 cambridgerbc

A big chunk of the 18th episode takes place in this lovely small town, which is supposed to be in the U.K., except that it has an RBC branch.

2014 02 18 12 18 cambridgecafe cawebsite

It’s actually downtown Cambridge (because cafés in the UK don’t have .ca web addresses)…

2014 02 18 12 18 cambridge

…and there’s a big shootout on the bridge.

2014 02 18 12 18 darthmaulincambridge

The main baddie is actually Ray Park, the martial artist who played Darth Maul, as well as Toad in the first X-Men. So, there you go: Darth Maul in Cambridge.

2014 02 18 12 royalbirkhambank cambridgecityhall

The “Royal Birkham Bank” seen here is actually Cambridge’s City Hall.

2014 02 18 12 18 church int metrounited

Hey, here’s Darth Maul again, in a church.

2014 02 18 12 18 church

From the outside and inside shots we can can deduce it’s Metropolitan United.

2014 02 18 12 19 romint2

This lovely party…

2014 02 18 12 19 romparty

…is actually at the ROM, obviously in the old, pre-Libeskind section.

2014 02 18 12 20 plainview

And then we find ourselves in “Plainview, PA,” which looks as if it could be anywhere.

2014 02 18 12 20 uxbridge

It’s actually played by two local small towns. The main street seen here is Brock Street, in Uxbridge.

2014 02 18 12 20 bank brook

This bank is just down the street, at 99 Brock Street.

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You might think, what with the store name, that this is also in Uxbridge, but nope—it’s way over in Port Perry.

2014 02 18 12 20 lakeview

We also get one of the most obviously named…

2014 02 18 12 20 lakeview int

…(and properly captioned!) locations in the entire series: Dundas’s Lakeview Restaurant.

2014 02 18 12 21 halfright

Hmph, well, this is half right. Obviously it’s our Union Station (which doesn’t look much like DC’s)…

2014 02 18 12 21 dcunionstn fight

…and there’s a brief skirmish just down the hall in the upper concourse area.

2014 02 18 12 22 CIA Mowat

Things get real as we hit the season finale and Nikita goes into CIA headquarters. It’s the provincial Mowat Block building, playing the same scary government edifice it has played in everything from Last Night to The Recruit.

2014 02 18 12 21 alleybluething

This clandestine alley meeting is recognizably taking place on Temperance Street, just down from the LED-endowed Goodlife building on Yonge, near Adelaide.

2014 02 18 12 22 fancyresto

What appears to be a fancy restaurant here…

2014 02 18 12 22 fancyresto 1kingwest

…is actually the gorgeous Grand Banking Hall that is now part of 1 King West.

2014 02 18loft

Nikita lives in a loft that we see pretty much every episode, and it’s actually some pretty pricy real estate: the former Crystal Ballroom on the top floor of the King Edward Hotel…

2014 02 18 12 22 loftext

…but here the bad guys close in, and we finally see the exterior…

2014 02 18 12 22 loftslide banks

…as she makes her escape by zipline with Scotia Plaza in the background.

2014 02 18 12 22 lotroof royalyork

Who knew? She lives in the top of the Royal York!

And with that—phew—we are done with Nikita for the time being. There have, of course, been three more seasons, but it’s amazing to think of the corners of the city (Casa Loma aside!) they didn’t manage to hit in the first one.

CORRECTION: February 20, 2014, 5:35 PM The post originally indicated that Nikita’s loft is a set, when in fact it is actually located in the King Edward Hotel.

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