Reel Toronto: The Strain—Season Two (Part One)
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Reel Toronto: The Strain—Season Two (Part One)

From present-day New York City to mid-century Vienna, The Strain travels all around Toronto, between all the bloodletting.

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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Guillermo del Toro has practically become on honorary Torontonian with all the productions he’s hosted here, dating back to his first film, Mimic, but especially since setting up shop for Pacific Rim.

Key to his 416-centric enterprise is The Strain, his icky-horror-vampire-virus TV series, the second season of which recently finished airing on your local cable provider. Set primarily in New York City, but occasionally in Washington, DC and even parts of Europe, the production really gets around town.

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One of the fun things about The Strain is that it pretty much always tells you exactly where you aren’t. Right off the top, for example, we revisit a key location from the first season. As we all know, “Vestry Hall,” isn’t in TriBeCa at all; it’s our old friend Massey Hall.

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A popular film location is the alleyway behind Massey Hall which we visit a couple of times…

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…you can just make out the sign for Fran’s Diner in the back of this shot.

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A key location is the midtown offices of the Stoneheart Group. Most of the time we see an interior shot it’s just a set, but this is obviously the lobby of Roy Thomson Hall. It doesn’t look much like the actual building at that address, but it’s still pretty cool.

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At the other end of the aesthetic scale, this empty factory looks like the abandoned Unilever site.

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Now, this is pretty cool. We have a flashback to the 1930s, in Vienna.

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This hotel and its environs (aside from the bits added with CGI)…

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…are actually the Liberty Grand which (wait until our next edition!) plays an entirely different location later in the season.

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The courtyard in the back played an entirely different kind of location in Wonderfalls.

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This distinctive swimming pool…

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…is uptown, at the Don Valley Hotel.

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Now we’re still in Vienna, but a few decades later.

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This lovely Old World-style architecture is actually the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe College. And it’s a location that also appeared in Mimic so, cool!

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This exciting loading dock…

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…is down on Wellington Street, at Roy Thomson Hall. You can even see a bit of it reflected in the windows back there.

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One key location is this quarantined compound…

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….which is supposed to be on Staten Island, but it’s actually our portlands, the terminal we built for the Rochester Ferry. Everyone remember the Rochester Ferry?!

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This is what 2nd Avenue in this part of Harlem actually looks like, but this is actually Adelaide Street.

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This exterior is a real restaurant next door to Burrito Boyz, but the interior shots are all a set.

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This is supposed to be way at the other end of Manhattan

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…but it’s only a few blocks away, on Pearl Street.

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Batting cages aren’t a dime a dozen so it’s easy enough to ID this one as the one out in Mississauga, at the Playdium.

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A lot of the action takes place in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn…

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…but this dark street is actually the bottom end of Logan Avenue.

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Thanks to that storefront in the back, we can say this also-dark-and-scary apartment courtyard…

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…is on Richmond Street.

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Another big location also used in Mimic

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…is our old friend Lower Bay.

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We’ve already visited Wycliffe College…

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…so it was probably inevitable we’d visit the always photogenic Knox College, not too far away.

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We can identify this street as Adelaide thanks to the fire hall.

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Unlike the characters on Suits, these guys are too busy fighting vampires to visit many restaurants…

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…but this fancy one is Hy’s Steakhouse.

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A bit cooler, is Blowfish on Bay.

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And this lovely bar…

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…is The Chase Fish and Oyster, which we visit a couple of times.

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This is supposed be New York’s Penn Station, but it’s actually the Metro Convention Centre.

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However, our Union Station does appear…

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…as Washington’s Union Station.

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Lookee, they even stuck the Washington Monument in the back there, so you know where you are.

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There’s an extended and creepy action sequence…

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…in this church…

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…actually Metropolitan United.

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This wintry waterfront park…

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…is really Harbourfront’s Music Garden.

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And, finally, this house is supposed to be on Staten Island but was filmed in Hamilton’s North End neighbourhood.

That’s just in the first half of the second season. There’s plenty more yet to come.