Where Suicide Squad Was Filmed in Toronto
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Where Suicide Squad Was Filmed in Toronto

On our streets, bad guys take on badder guys.

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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Suicide Squad is not the first blockbuster film to shoot on our fair streets but it probably was the most visible. Whether it’s simply because it was 2015, where everyone has their cellphone ready to tweet and YouTube when they come across a big shoot, or whether it’s because fricking Batman was rolling down Yonge Street on the back of a neon purple Lamborghini, it was kind of hard to ignore that they were in town.

And if, once the movie came out, it turned out to be kinda fun but not really great, well, that’s okay. At least it wasn’t Batman v Superman, right? And now, as it’s about to come out on home video, you can see the extended cut with more of Jared Leto’s oh-so-method Joker and, sure, more Toronto, too!

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So we open up with Viola Davis going into the Cicada restaurant, said to be in Washington, D.C. (It’s amazing, watching movies you’d think every street in D.C. somehow has the Capitol Building at its end.)

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Actually it’s neither here nor there. It’s in Los Angeles. Sorry for the tease.

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But then we meet our de facto (anti-)hero, Deadshot (presumably in Gotham City?) and he is in Toronto.

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He’s setting up an assassination from this rooftop, from which you can make out the CBC headquarters…

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…and the new Union Station train shed.

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When he rappels down afterwards, you can’t really miss the Skywalk (now home to the UPX platform), all of which seems to place him on the roof of this Front Street building.

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Then he goes walking with his daughter along Adelaide Street

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…and turns into this alleyway where he runs into Batman. Or “The Batman,” if you’re an old school purist or whatever. It’s just an alleyway beside the Ontario Heritage Trust headquarters but, damn, if it hasn’t appeared in Hannibal and a billion other things as “Random Urban Alley.” Whatever, we hereby officially declare it shall henceforth be known as Affleck Alley.

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So, we all remember when the Batmobile and Joker were cruising down Yonge Street because it’s not the sort of thing that happens here in Hogtown every day. It’s not even the first time a superhero has taken over that stretch, since The Hulk did the same thing less than a decade ago. Mind you, he’s CGI so he wasn’t really on set.

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Anyway, we do find the Joker speeding down the street…

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…though the shots are geographically out of order, if you’re paying attention.

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All this hullabaloo amounted to something like 15 seconds of screentime. But when you watch it again, and pay less attention to the Batmobile, you can appreciate all the little changes, like to the signs for the Elephant & Castle and the BIA…

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…as well as the Hard Rock Cafe.

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One sign that didn’t get changed? The Big Slice! The beloved pizza joint faced death by condo earlier this year but no matter what, it’s been in the same shot as Batman and The Hulk, and those are laurels upon which it may certainly rest for all time.

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The action then shifts to the fictional Midway City. This is (as you can kinda plainly see) the Downsview subway station.

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But that’s not your only slice of TTC love, folks. No, there’s a big attack underground…

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…and as you’ve surely surmised…

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…Central Station is most definitely Lower Bay. (Which makes it a bit weird they established the location with a shot that has totally different architecture and a different kind of train and they didn’t really retouch the signage. Hollywood!)

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Finally, after many introductory (and studio-shot) shenanigans, our titular squad assembles…

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…at this airport, which could be anywhere.

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There’s almost nothing recognizable on screen, but it’s actually Markham’s Buttonville Airport. You can kinda see a “Toronto Airways” terminal sign in the back there, eh?

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When we see Midway City, it turns out…

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…that it’s really mostly Chicago. Boo!

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And then our heroes’ helicopter crashes, just outside Harbour 60

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…and they make their way to this plane crash, in Yonge-Dundas Square.

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Again, it’s fun to just pick out all the little post-production changes to the signage. (In an early trailer, instead of either Eaton Centre or Elliot Centre, it just said Centre Centre. Actually, “Center Center,” because America rules. Silliness!)

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Then we’re traipsing downtown, just behind the Royal York, on Piper Street

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…and come out onto York…

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…past the disguised Tim Hortons…

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…crossing in front of the not-disguised Bardi’s

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…and then Slipknot loses his head in this laneway (apparently called Heenan Place)…

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…complete with the Strathcona Hotel sign, just visible for a second.

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Then we engage in battle with the baddies in this alleyway…
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…which looks like it could be real (note the Grace O’Malley’s sign, from Duncan and Pearl here)…

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…and the building on the right’s resemblance to this one, also on Pearl

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…but it’s actually an impressive set. (All the impressive sets were shot at Pinewood, BTW.)

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This trailer-friendly scene, where Harley loots…

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…is the window of the new Holt’s, on Bloor. (Not the Eaton Centre, as per this Toronto Life guess.)

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And then, because this movie is all about getting to crash sites, we get to this plane crash on Yonge Street, north of College.

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You can see more of the street, in all its lit-up glory…

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…later in the scene (especially in the extended edition).

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Speaking of which, the extended edition of the movie includes a motorcycle chase with Harley and the Joker…

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…shot down on Lakeshore, under the Gardiner.

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The Ostrander Federal Building (named after the squad’s creator)…

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…is actually the MARS complex, on College Street.

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Probably they were able to shoot the battle scenes during the day, what with all the empty offices. (Oh, snap!)

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Then we get another helicopter crash site.

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This one ends up…

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…just in front of the Royal Bank Plaza, on Wellington.

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Harley survives, sitting on a cop car in front of First Canadian Place

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…and the team comes across the street (more or less), from the Bay Adelaide Centre.

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Then the squad has something of a spat and some of them head in to grab a drink here, actually the entrance to Ki, at the base of Brookfield Place.

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Now they’re all set to be the gosh-darned Suicide Squad and that means a slow-mo, power-walking shot down Bloor Street.

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Killer Croc loves the Gucci, after all.

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And they arrive at a not-really disguised Bay subway station which, actually is, after all, where Lower Bay is.

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You can even see the Gap across the street, if you’re into Gap-spotting.

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Contrary to those well-intentioned guessers at Toronto Life, the uber-explosive finale does not take place at Union Station. It’s a massive set, built at Pinewood. If they spent a few weeks blowing up Union Station, you’d have noticed. Actually, given the neverending renovations, maybe you wouldn’t have.

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Though it clearly borrows from Union…

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…it’s definitely augmented…


…but that said, when the bad guys are done away with, we do see an outside shot of Union Station, looking east along Front Street…

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…complete with the L-Tower silhouetted in the background.

Since The Incredible Hulk first shot here, most of Marvel’s movies have been filmed down south, in places like New Mexico and Georgia. But, hey, this whole comic book movie thing really started here anyway and since they’re making like 15 of them a year now, there should be enough to go around. Ben Affleck’s going to be making a Batman movie soon, for starters, so he should think about coming back. We just named an alley in his honour, after all!