Reel Toronto: Orphan Black - Season 3
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Reel Toronto: Orphan Black – Season 3

Orphan Black just wrapped a third season of its kinda-set-in-Toronto clone drama.

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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Another season of Orphan Black wrapped last week, deepening its convoluted mythology and exploring more local locations along the way. Despite the annoying BBC watermarks, it’s Toronto-produced and Toronto-filmed and Toronto-set, kinda, sorta, more or less.

It was fun tracking this year’s locations, particularly as they ventured afield to not-really-London, England but we also have to give some props to the folks at the Orphan Black wiki, who have even more time on their hands than we do, and found some of the obscure locations before we even started.

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The season premiere opens with Felix, Sarah and Kira having a little drink by the fire…

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…on this “beach,” actually the Toronto Ship Channel, with the Hearn Generating Station rather prominently in the background.

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Later in the season, this bit is nearby, also in the portlands, on Basin Street.

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The show has a rather convoluted relationship with Toronto. It’s been broadly implied we’re in the city and you can see Ontario plates and Canadian money and yet they never say it outright and many locations are not at all what they’re supposed to be. For example, the first season established that suburbanite Alison lives in the fictional neighbourhood of “Bailey Downs,” ostensibly in Scarborough.

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The filming location, however, has been the Angus Glen neighbourhood of Markham. This year’s plotlines required a broader geographical field, however.

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She takes over her mom’s soap store, Bubbles, and it looks like it could be in the same area; very similar architecturally to the shops in Markham’s New Urbanist Cornell neighbourhood (right next door to Angus Glen). But, it’s actually way over in Brampton, in the similarly New Urbanist-style Mount Pleasant Village.

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Throughout the season Alison is vying to to become a school board trustee, not in Scarborough, Brampton or Markham but “Glendale,” which sounds only slightly less generic than Springfield.

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Anyway, this school, which hosts the candidates’ debate, is David Suzuki S.S., in Brampton.

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The exteriors, however, are the nearby Mount Pleasant Village P.S.

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Oh, and her mom is played by Sheila McCarthy!

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Another local face getting some air time this year is Earl Pastko, perhaps best known for playing the devil in Highway 61, and also for a role in The Sweet Hereafter.

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Sarah’s sometimes beau, Cal, gets new digs

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…right at the corner of Queen East and Tracy.

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This police station was seen in the first season but has been absent for a a while.

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It’s at King Street, right beside the Richmond underpass.

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Two of the characters, Mark and Gracie, go on the lam and end up at this motel.

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It’s the old Lido, out on Kingston Road.

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Sarah and her cop pal, Art, do a little stakeout here, outside Jilly’s.

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…and find their prey in the alley on the east side of Broadview. (Random trivia: this actress is also Tatiana Maslany’s double, for all those tricky multi-clone scenes.)

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There’s a series of scenes shot right in the Jane-Steeles area, including this cool lookin’ motorcycle bit. You can see a banner for Black Creek Pioneer Village on the right.

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They didn’t shoot in the actual village but they did shoot at an adjacent piece of land the TRCA owns on the Vaughan side (pretty much on the right side of the fence in that previous shot).

We’ve seen the historic Schmidt-Dalziel barn in a couple of things recently, including last season’s Hannibal. (It’s sometimes accessible during Doors Open and it’s, like, one of the biggest Pennsylvania-style barns in North America so check it out, if you’re into barns and stuff!)

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This lovely house is on the same property.

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Speaking of barns, this farm is one we wouldn’t have gotten without the wiki people, but it’s near the zoo, on Gordon Murison Lane.

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That’s right, folks, there’s still some pieces of farmland within the City of Toronto.

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We saw this diner pop up in Nikita (albeit at night)…

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…it’s the photogenic Ted’s Restaurant.

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Cosima goes on a blind date…

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…and they meet up at the Cameron House.

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This is one of our favourite bits: they managed to film three different locations, all in London, all shot at U of T, within about 50 feet of each other.

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It starts with our characters arriving in London, which is clearly Convocation Hall supplemented by some green screen streetscape

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This totally different part of town is Simcoe Hall, right next door to Con Hall.

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They have to take a cab from here to get to Simcoe Hall, even though it’s maybe 100 feet to the south.

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This London housing project is actually Alexandra Park.

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After so many toughies, we always appreciate a gimme. This actually is Ming’s Auto, on Queen East.

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You can see the other side of the street here.

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This season introduced a new clone, Krystal, who works at a nail salon.

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It’s actually Her Majesty’s Pleasure, on King Street.

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The subsequent scene takes place just outside, on King.

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This is a reminder that though the show’s home base is definitely in the east end, they do get downtown. This meeting is in Simcoe Park, for example.

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A little geographic trickery here. Gracie is standing under this bridge, on Queen East…

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…but when we cut to her point-of-view, it’s on Yonge Street.

And that does it for Season 3! Sadly, Hannibal has just been cancelled and (Netflix Heaven notwithstanding) may not make it to Season 4, but Orphan Black should be back filming on our streets again before long.