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culture

Reel Toronto: Nikita – Season 2 (Part One)

She's back! Television's bad-ass assassin, Nikita, goes everywhere from Amsterdam to Belarus to Turkey without leaving the GTA in the series' second season.

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 03 18nikita2

We had so much fun with our first and second looks at Nikita—which hops all over the GTA while its characters hop all over the globe— we thought there was no point beating around the bush, and we might as well dive right into Season 2. To quickly recap: we are not talking about either the original French film, La Femme Nikita, or the American remake, Point of No Return, or the also-shot-in-Toronto-but-on-the-cheap series La Femme Nikita. Like all those properties, though, this show is about a bad-ass female assassin and her exciting spy adventures, which take her (at least in real life) from one end of the GTA all the way to the other.

2014 03 18 1 brothersdiscount queenwest

The first episode starts outside this historic shop, actually Brothers Discount on Queen West, at Cameron.

2014 03 18 1 motel

Then we find ourselves in this motel…

2014 03 18 1 motelassault

…and there’s a big shootout…

2014 03 18 1 motelplanes

…complete with drones attacking the courtyard…

2014 03 18 1 citymotor hamilton

…of what turns out to be the old City Motor Hotel, in Hamilton.

2014 03 18 2 1kingwest2

By the second episode, we’re safely back in the 416. This lovely banquet is at the old banking hall at One King West; it also played a restaurant toward the end of Season 1.

2014 03 18 2 connecticutpark allengardens

Ah, it’s always helpful to have captions remind us of where we most certainly aren’t.

2014 03 18 2 park allengardens

This park, in which an assassination attempt takes place, is actually Allen Gardens.

2014 03 18 3 qcopen

So far, Nikita has “visited” Quebec several times, and made not one single fictional visit to lovely Toronto. We’ll pretend we’re not insulted by that, since here we are back again.

2014 03 18 3 qc resto trinitysquare

It looks as if this courtyard eatery is actually outside in Trinity Square

2014 03 18 3 temperance notqc

…and this stroll is actually along Temperance Street.

2014 03 18 4 doubtful

The fourth episode takes place almost entirely in Turkey, which is a relatively unusual place for Toronto to sub for. This street is too tightly framed to identify, but it’s pretty clearly around here, despite the red filter they’ve thrown over it.

2014 03 18 4 staircaseturkey

If you’re wondering which part of the GTA looks particularly Turkish, you may be amused to watch this action scene…

2014 03 18 4 turkey cityhall

…which takes place outside…

2014 03 18 4 turkey hamiltoncityhall

…the mid-century International architecture of Hamilton City Hall

2014 03 18 4 acrossstreet hamilton sheraton

…you can even see the local Sheraton across the street here.

2014 03 18 4 moreturkey liuna

You probably never thought of Hamilton as a place evocative of the Ottoman Empire, but it certainly steps up here. This train station…

2014 03 18 4 moreturkey liuna2

…is Liuna Station, an action-film fave for everything from X-Men to The Long Kiss Goodnight.

2014 03 18 4 weirdturkishresto maybepier15hamilton

We’re not sure, but we think this oddly located restaurant is down by the old Hamilton docks…

2014 03 18 4 turkeyarmeniabridge barbertown

…but this bridge, ostensibly the way into Armenia, is the historic Chambers Bridge, over in West Montrose.

2014 03 18 4 trainext

Somewhat further afield is this old-timey train…

2014 03 18 4 trainint

…recognizable from its interior as the York-Durham Heritage Railway, occasionally used for period films but also always nice for a Sunday jaunt in the country!

2014 03 18 4 botanicalgarden probably

It’s rather dark, but the greenhouse back there seems to suggest this park is actually the Toronto Botanical Garden.

2014 03 18 5 distillery belarus

It took long enough, but finally, in the series’ 27th episode, it’s the Distillery District! This time we’re supposed to be in Belarus, of all places.

2014 03 18 2014 03 18 5 mansion

A lot of the action in the fifth episode takes place at this mansion…

2014 03 18 5 graydonhall fountain

…and its grounds…

2014 03 18 5 graydonhall

…up at North York’s Graydon Hall. How many mansions can these people film in without hitting Casa Loma? Let’s just say that between Graydon Hall, Liuna Station, the banking hall, and some of these other locations, Nikita is a good series to watch if you’re shopping for a historic wedding venue.

2014 03 18 6 notNYCchurch stpauls

In the sixth episode, we spend more time in the series’ fictional home base, New York City. This church, however…

2014 03 18 6 stpaulsabove

…is actually St. Paul’s, on Bloor…

2014 03 18 6 churchint

…as is the interior.

2014 03 18 8 albertawatson

We also get local thespian Alberta Watson chewing up some scenery!

2014 03 18 8 washington rom bloor

This brief section in Episode 8 puts us in Washington, D.C., though those wee bits of the ROM and the Manulife Centre suggest we’re actually on Bloor.

2014 03 18 8 house71

But most of the episode takes place in rainy old London.

2014 03 18 8 housestreet

This quiet “London” street and home are seen a fair bit…

2014 03 18 8 housestreet elmsley

…and it’s actually kind of an unusual street…

2014 03 18 8 stmikessign

Elmsley Place, part of St. Mike’s, at U of T. Given how picturesque and European it is, we’re surprised the only other thing we’ve seen it in is, um, The Prince and Me. You can see a university sign here…

2014 03 18 8 lastshot kelly london

…and the Kelly Library in the back of the episode’s final shot, complete with added phone booth and Underground sign!

2014 03 18 9 dc torontostreet rosewater

The ninth episode is back in North America. This D.C. hotel is actually the Rosewater Supper Club

2014 03 18 9 rosewater int

…also where the interiors were shot.

2014 03 18 9 dcgarbage

This Washington garbage can sure seems familiar! We wonder if the pedal works, since they have less ice there?

2014 03 18 9 DCespresso tangopalace

This handsome espresso shop is actually Leslieville’s Tango Palace.

2014 03 18 9 chase gobus

This downtown chase scene features a GO Bus…

2014 03 18 9 chase cibc

…a CIBC…

2014 03 18 9 chase kingjames hamilton

…and helpful convenience store signs

2014 03 18 9 chase james

…placing us in downtown Hamilton.

2014 03 18 9 peeler2 dolcesocial

Back in town, this, um, exotic bar, is the former Dolce Social Ballroom. It didn’t last long, but it was around long enough to appear here and in The Samaritan, as well.

2014 03 18 9 nyc stlouiswings kingeast

This New York street is helpfully identified by a St. Louis Wings outlet; it’s on King Street.

2014 03 18 9 cherryst

And part of the episode also takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia—also “visited” in the first season. Here…

2014 03 18 9 cherrystbridge

…it’s with a bit of help from the Cherry Street bridge (which has appeared in everything from A Christmas Story to The Incredible Hulk)…

2014 03 18 9 stpetes billybishop

…and this “airport,” just a bit of the Toronto docks area.

2014 03 18 9 esplanadegreenp

Finally, for this episode, we have this parking lot, which is probably the most filmed parking lot in the city. It’s the mega-Green P that runs from the base of Church to Jarvis.

2014 03 18 11 stillatUdinovEstate

A big part of the tenth and eleventh episodes takes place at the “Udinov Estate.”

2014 03 18 10 etonhall thirdtime

This is actually the third time (counting two separate occasions in the first season) where we find ourselves at King City’s Eaton Hall. Yeah, you can have your wedding there, too.

2014 03 18 11 amsterdam cambridge

Much of the episode also takes place in “Amsterdam.” Before this shot is done, you see a “Meville Cafe” sign behind them…

2014 03 18 11 balletamsterdam cibc SAMECORNERasCafe13

…and all the “Ballet Amsterdam” signs in the world can’t hide a CIBC—we’re really in Cambridge, which played London back in the first season. Indeed, that CIBC is right beside Cafe 13, which was visible in the London scenes.

And, phew, that’s it for the first half of the second season. We’ll get back to you soon with the rest of it and, in the fullness of time, the final two seasons as well. It’s hard to imagine there are parts of the city and region they still haven’t shot, but we’re watching for Casa Loma and waiting to see what European hot-spot Cambridge will double for next!

CORRECTION: March 26, 2014, 11:30 AM This post originally stated that the bridge doubling as the way into Armenia was the historic Barbertown Bridge—in fact, the bridge in question is the historic Chambers Bridge, located in West Montrose.

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