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culture

Reel Toronto: Hannibal — Season Two

The second season of Hannibal continued to break boundaries and look awesome as it made its way around the GTA.

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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We’re going to be big about this and assume that Orphan Black and Hannibal weren’t so prominently snubbed at the Emmys just because they’re shot here. Probably the Americans are jealous, eh. The former, after all, features the ridiculously good acting of Tatiana Maslany and the latter is arguably one of the best-looking, most boundary-pushing shows on network television. Any way you slice it, our local TV shoots have come a long way from the likes of Relic Hunter.

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The second season of Hannibal opens and closes with one of the ballsiest and bloodiest set pieces you’re likely to see on TV without having to click over to HBO and its ilk. It was a season we weren’t even sure was going to happen back when we profiled the last one, and we can now rest assured that a third season will allow the characters to continue their march toward the events of Red Dragon, and that showrunner Bryan Fuller will be able to continue to explore the “Cronenbergian vocabulary” of local locations.

And speaking of that first season, we should do a little housecleaning and repent for some sins of omission—there were some locations we missed not so much because of a lack of knowledge but thanks to just plain missing ‘em. Here, for example, we see the handsome (okay, and dramatically lit) home in which Hannibal meets with his own therapist, played by Gillian Anderson.

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The exterior seen here actually belongs to this handsome domicile on Mississauga’s mini-Bridle Path, Doulton Drive. Just a few doors down is a mega-mansion that’s been used in several shoots, including Kick-Ass 2.

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An increasingly popular location (seen in everything from Grey Gardens to Nikita)—and one of our favourites—is the Rouge Valley’s Valley Halla…

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…which does such a great job paying a creepy, past-its-prime rural manse. (It also played a key role in the second season of Orphan Black. We’ll get to that soon!)

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One of the series’ key aesthetic motifs is the “death tableau,” in which murder victims are staged dramatically (and in eerily beautiful ways). This one…

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…takes place in a location tucked away beside the Ontario Heritage Trust building on Adelaide. You can kinda sorta see the Starbucks across the street.

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This one is in a more easily identifiable place: the beach by the Scarborough Bluffs.

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As we move into season two, we of course find several recurring locations. One (or, in fact, two) of the most distinct involves this telescope…

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…which is actually the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill.

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As we pointed out last time, the psychiatric hospital is actually the telescope’s admin building, which is just a few feet to the southeast.

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The series is set mainly in and around the Baltimore-D.C.-Virginia corridor. Hannibal’s Baltimore mansion is actually 50 Lowther Avenue

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One location that we have yet to nail down is Will Graham’s farmhouse, ostensibly in Wolf Trap, Virginia, but actually somewhere just outside Toronto. Interestingly, the real owners are a former motocross champion and a painter, so that’s a clue.

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Somewhat amusingly, this early-season murder scene is supposed to be in Rockville, Maryland…

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…but the lovely dam setting is actually in Guelph’s Rockwood Conservation Area.

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The third episode features a botched FBI raid on this suburban semi…

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…which is actually up in the Bathurst-Lawrence area…

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…on Prue Avenue.

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Here’s Hannibal having an energetic swim in a (dramatically lit) swimming pool…

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…which we can see is actually the pool at the downtown YMCA, on Grosvenor Street.

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This barn, which dramatically closes out one episode and opens another…

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…might seem as if it’s way out in the sticks, but it’s actually part of Black Creek Pioneer Village—albeit not the main site. It’s the historic Schmidt-Dalziel barn, just on the other side of Steeles.

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At 8,200 square feet and 205 years old, it’s the biggest and oldest barn in the whole province, dontcha know! (Because it’s not on the Black Creek property, you can’t see it by visiting the village, but it’s been a part of Vaughan’s Doors Open program in the past.)

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Arguably the series’ most stunning death tableau is this tree corpse, set up in a massive, fog-shrouded parking lot.

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The condos seen in this shot help us locate it. They’re on Jane Street, making this a parking lot you’ve been in but never seen so empty: the one at Canada’s Wonderland.

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A rather more grisly tableau is this one, staged in the very photogenic Knox College.

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Supposedly in the same location is the very easy-to-spot Liebeskind addition…

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…to the ROM.

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We also get to meet the Verger family, including Margot Verger, played by Canuck actress Katherine Isabelle, best known for her lead role in Ginger Snaps.

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A key new location is the family mansion. We’ve seen Casa Loma in a billion things…

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…but rarely do we see the stable exteriors, used here. They look rather more urban when not framed so tightly.

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We also see the interior…

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…which has been used as the X-Men’s garage, and a steam bath in which Jean-Claude Van Damme fights in a towel.

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This meeting between profiler Alana Bloom and tabloid journalist Freddy Lounds (played by Bramptonian Lara Jean Chorostecki) pretty recognizably takes place…

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…at St. Mike’s, on the U of T campus. Gee willikers, NBC! We just said thiS is one of the best-looking shows on TV. Could you possibly ruin the compositions more with your stupid watermarks?

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Yup, you can. Thanks for that.

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Freddy goes into hiding at a hotel, and this establishing shot is of the lovely Old Mill.

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You may recall we mentioned Cronenberg before. Do you think this creepy abortion scene…

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…might be an homage to Dead Ringers?

That about gets us caught up, but after this season’s cliffhanger ending, we’re expecting a different tone—and some cool new local locations to check out—next year.

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