Reel Toronto: Beauty & the Beast—Season Two (Part Two)
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.
Love! Adventure! A beautiful gal! A not-very-bestial hunk! All the grit, grime and grooviness you’d expect from the mean streets of New York City!
Or maybe not so much.
The back half of Beauty and the Beast‘s second season continues its romp around the GTA, and if they go for the trope of pretending Yonge-Dundas Square looks anything like Times Square, well, who can blame them for trying?
Jumping right into things, it’s the awesome Colm Feore showing up for some reason.
He’s supposed to be out in Queens, but we’re actually in Liberty Village…
…on Fraser Avenue.
We mentioned before how the old Gentleman’s Guild building is on College Street. You can see more of the street here.
Narrow streets with a T-intersection are the easiest ones to make look like New York. Just park a cab at the end, maybe add one of those steam vents, bada-bing!
This one is outside the now-departed Gilead Café, on Gilead Street.
Everyone loves a wedding! This one isn’t really in Harrison, New York, however.
It’s actually at the Estates of Sunnybrook, just behind Sunnybrook Hospital. You can see a wee bit of the actual hospital in the back there.
They didn’t blow up the real building…
…but it looks like they did shoot inside the Vaughan Estate.
Catherine and Vincent have a night time rendezvous on Pearl Street in one episode.
Then we get a big ol’ crash here in Episode 15…
…and find ourselves on Pearl Street, pretty much exactly where we were before.
When it comes to abandoned industrial sites….
…it’s hard to beat the old Unilever lands.
And, a couple of episodes later…
…we find ourselves back there. Circles within circles, people.
Pretty easy to spot this law firm, eh?
A series of lovely shots…
…are clearly from the Frank Gehry-designed sections…
…of the AGO.
Oooh, who doesn’t love a masquerade?
The lighting here makes it a bit hard to see, but we’re pretty sure this is the ballroom at the Royal York.
Based on the tower of Commerce Court right there, this rooftop shot appears to be atop 1 King West‘s historic base.
You may recall from Season One that the exterior of Catherine’s apartment is actually the Gooderham Flatiron building.
Here’s a bit of it in the daytime…
…complete with fake NYC subway stairs.
Enjoyable incongruity, as a New York ambulance peels past an entrance to the St. Andrew TTC station, complete with a streetcar.
Then it crashes here, on Market Street.
You even get to see the nascent Balzac’s back there. Yes, Vincent, we’re all excited about the expansion of this Canadian indie chain.
So, here we are at the real live United Nations. At least for this shot. (We especially love the poor schmo crossing the street in this establishing shot, who gets his face blurred out.)
When we cut to Vincent, he’s standing (allegedly) across the street, by a red brick building.
We can see here it’s got the number 51 and an Ontario Heritage Plaque and, no real surprise, he’s actually on Mill Street, outside the Distillery District.
But eventually we go into the UN…
…and, despite the real building’s distinctive International Style architecture…
…we find ourselves ensconced in the Moriyama-designed Modernism of the Scarborough Civic Centre.
We’re not sure where this exterior is…
…but this interior is definitely Ted’s Restaurant.
The establishing shot preceding this…
…situates us in Central Park…
…but we’re actually at the Sunnyside Pavilion.
We visit it again a few episodes later.
You can tell, from the buildings outside the window, that this bridal shop is actually in the King Edward Hotel.
This little stroll is just outside it.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen that this federal building is really Metro Hall, but rarely do we get to see it so clearly.
An old chestnut that never gets tired…
…is Yonge-Dundas Square pretending to be Times Square. Pardon us, but one of our constant fascinations is how easy it is to make a scene look less-Toronto simply by adding street food. Can you even imagine if you could get a pretzel or popcorn in YDS? It would be anarchy and potential health violations until Kingdom Come!
Oh, goodie. We’re going for a drive along Lake Shore! We go past the Queen’s Quay Loblaws…
…and (backwards?) past the ACC (we’re actually in about the same location here)…
…and then by a GO Bus…
…on our way to hide in the suburbs, past Port Credit’s Snug Harbour.
Gee, we don’t have much to go on here, but they were heading towards Mississauga. Movie magic being what it is, that doesn’t necessarily mean much…
…but Mississauga is one of the few places where residential streets have such high address numbers…
…and, thanks to this shot, we have an address and a last name to go with it (thank you!).
So a bit of Google-fu and, booya, we find ourselves on Mississauga’s Mildmay Court.
An increasingly popular not-NYC location (even with a TTC streetcar in the back)…
…is St. James Park.
The season finale includes a story thread taking place way back in 1854…
…and, totally unsurprisingly, these period shots…
…were done in the Distillery District.
Here we are, back in the present, but still on Mill Street.
This is one of those great shots were you get something pretty New York (fake subway!) alongside something pretty Toronto (Canary District sales office!).
Every season they shoot a few actual bits in New York City, but it’s still a bit unusual to see them intercut locations in a single scene. This shot is actually in Manhattan’s Chinatown, on Pell Street.
But as you can see from the streetcars and Scotiabanks…
…the rest of it is here, on Dundas Street.
This is a cool location we haven’t seen before. This church courtyard is actually near the AGO, at St. George the Martyr.
We then go a few blocks away to St. Patrick’s Square. You can see the CityTV building’s Bell Media sign back there, eh and just a wee slice of the CN Tower too.
And with that appearance of of our most prominent civic landmark, we leave you for now. More romance, adventure and visits to St. James Park no doubt await in Season Three and, inevitably, Season Four.