Reel Toronto: Beauty and the Beast–Season Two (Part One)
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Reel Toronto: Beauty and the Beast–Season Two (Part One)

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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Like so many shows before it, Beauty and the Beast shoots almost entirely in Toronto but throws in hyperkinetic montages of New York so you might think otherwise. The Beasties probably don’t notice in the first season anyway, so enraptured are they by the adventures and canoodling of cop Catherine Chandler and her bestial beau, Vincent Keller. But we notice, because we are immune to such things and it is our vocation.

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OK, so in our first episode we find Vincent looking to propose to his lady love at this fancy restaurant. It’s actually the Courtyard Café at The Windsor Arms.

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Totally coincidentally, the hotel’s exterior makes an appearance later in the episode…

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…during a confrontation.

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This lovely bridal shop isn’t real but…

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…is on Queen Street East, as we can see by the slight appearance of St. James Park out the window.

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One major setting in the second season is this café, which drove us a bit crazy. The exterior is (or was) Il Cantuccio in New York City…

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…but despite the pretty-real looking streetscape outside, the interior is just a set.

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That said, at one point we go for this stroll after a visit there, and find ourselves on Duncan Street.

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It’s hard to tell for sure where this police station office is but, based on the view of the Portlands out the window, it’s likely in or around Corus Quay.

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Jumping ahead a few episodes, you may recall the police station exterior is actually the Ontario Heritage Trust building at Yonge and Adelaide. Though the interiors are a set, they clearly borrow from the actual architecture.

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In a later episode, we see it again….

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…with a rather substantial SWAT team presence.

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As with most New York-set shows (we’re looking at you, Suits), much of the shooting is in and around the Financial District. Here we are outside First Canadian Place, for example.

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And this park looks like it’s in the plaza outside the Bay-Adelaide Centre.

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We spend some time visiting FBI headquarters…

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…clearly, actually Metro Hall.

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You can see Brookfield out the window of this office, ostensibly in the building, so it’s likely elsewhere—possibly Bay-Adelaide.

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The only thing that looks more NYC than a randomly placed USA Today box is yellow cabs. Lots of ’em. There’s almost enough of ’em here to block out the location.

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But this fence is recognizable (at least to us) as the exterior of St. Andrew’s Church, right across from Roy Thomson Hall.

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You can see a tiny bit of Roy Thomson here, along with a traffic pylon that, if we were cynical, we would suggest is actually part of the film crew blocking off the street.

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This may look like some historic New York firehall…

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…but it’s actually the Casa Loma stables which we haven’t seen since, jeeze, the last time we did a column.

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This doesn’t look much like the actual 79th Street Boat Basin

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…and it’s too tightly framed to be sure where here it is.

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The fifth episode features a high school reunion and it’s hard to be sure with this lighting…

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…but it looks like the gym at Eastminster United Church, which has been used in everything from Cinderella Man to Honey.

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In the same episode, Vincent visits this spooky and abandoned church…

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…but it’s not really so scary.

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It’s actually Deer Park United Church

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…and you can even see the old Imperial Oil headquarters in the back there.

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This condo is just off King Street West.

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Indeed, it (with some special effects help) catches fire…

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…and reveals itself to be the Festival Tower.

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This law firm interior also looks like it’s in the tower. You can make out the Princess of Wales theatre and the side of Metro Hall through the window.

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This hustle-bustle shot is actually on the oft-used Colborne Street.

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We visit the Portlands a few times…

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…including in this nighttime scene.

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It also pops up a couple of episodes later, though we’re supposed to be in Brooklyn or something.

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This scene even goes so far as to swap in the Lower Manhattan skyline.

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A quickly-edited trip by ambulance zips past Peter and Wellington

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…ending up at this hospital…

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…actually Riverdale’s Bridgepoint.

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Vincent and his pal hang out at the neglected Gentleman’s Guild of New York, the exterior of which is the old Latvian House, on College Street.

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This location, on Etobicoke’s Judson Street

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…gets blown up real good.

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This fancy-shmancy Russian compound…

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…is actually out in Mississauga’s version of the Bridle Path, Doulton Place.The house has appeared in other stuff, including Kick-Ass 2.

And after all that, we’re only halfway through the season, so there’s still plenty more to delight the Beastie in all of us.