Where The Handmaid's Tale was Filmed in Toronto (Part Two)

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Where The Handmaid’s Tale was Filmed in Toronto (Part Two)

More of Toronto as Gilead, the site of Margaret Atwood's chilling dystopian future.

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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And we’re back, identifying as many of the local locations used in locally-written, locally-shot The Handmaid’s Tale as we can! Locally!

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First, rectifying a sin of omission from last time out, we mentioned that in Episode 3 Emily is “tried” in Cambridge City Hall, but then we forgot to mention she’s forced to watch her partner hung at this parking lot in Hamilton.

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The big scene in Episode 6 involves all the handmaids being gathered…

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…and then paraded before a delegation from Mexico…

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…at the Royal York’s ornate ballroom.

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This is just outside.

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This is obviously dimly lit…

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“…but this “movie theatre,” where Fred and Serena Joy learn the revolution is going forward is the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

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We’ve already seen that much of the local exterior action is in historic Galt, and here’s a nice wintertime shot.

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This government building…

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…turns out to be the Ontario Heritage Trust’s very handsome Adelaide Street headquarters.

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Episode 7 is especially flashback-y.

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Here, Luke and June are cruising around downtown, and judging by the reflections, we’re on Victoria Street.

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When Luke escapes, he finds himself at this bridge…2017_07_05-hamiltonbridge

The Fishway, near Cootes Paradise, in Hamilton.

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This unpleasant church Luke visits is closer to home…

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…the former Wychwood-Davenport Presbyterian Church, soon to undergo condo-ification.

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Perhaps the most obvious and fun-to-spot location is “Little America,” out at David Crombie Park, on the Esplanade.

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Ironically, the CN Tower isn’t really quite visible from there. It seems to be a CGI addition to really sell the TORONTO of it all.

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This second government building stumped us for a bit, but you know what?

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It’s the same, darned Ontario Heritage Centre! This time it’s the oval boardroom there.

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The big set piece in Episode 8 involves June being taken into “Boston” to enjoy the debauchery of Jezebel’s. First, the Commander’s car is stopped at this checkpoint, in King’s Mill Park, by the Old Mill.

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Then she exits the car in this alley

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…and finds herself, just as she did a couple of episodes ago, at the Royal York.

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This time the action is in and around the Library Bar.

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We also have a flashback with Nick where we seem to be driving around the Exhibition grounds…

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…and then disembarks at the Automotive Building…

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…or the, ew, Beanfield Centre, as its now known. It’s really hard to keep track of what energy company any given building at the Ex is named after at any given moment, man.

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He also has a bite here…

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…at Ted’s Restaurant, which has been popping up in a bunch of shows, including Orphan Black, as of late.

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The climax of the ninth episode is Janine climbing up on this bridge…

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…the Old Mill Bridge over the Humber.

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We already saw the interior of 25 Park Lane Circle in the first half of the season…

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…but we get a good look at the exterior this time around.

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As we’ve previously seen, the Commander’s house is in Hamilton, just below the mountain…

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…but these shots walking around the neighbourhood are back in Cambridge, on Brant Street North.

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We also visit Janine’s’s new placement, just around the corner at 51 Aberdeen. And we knew it looked familiar. We admit we didn’t catch this when we watched last year’s best picture winner, Spotlight, but this house is most definitely the one at which Michael Keaton goes to visit his lawyer friend late in the movie, getting him to confirm the names of priests outside on the street. Small world!

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We also the Red Centre interiors before and at least some were shot in Toronto, at St. Aidan’s…

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…but these were done at Hamilton’s historic King George S.S.

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Also in Hamilton is this house, doing double duty. The Scottish Rite is first the house where Serena Joy reveals June’s daughter is being held…

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…and then its cathedral in a more official guise…

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…as the awfully photogenic room where Putnam is put on trial.

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The Scottish Rite is giving Casa Loma a run for its money with recent appearances in Hannibal, Crimson Peak, and the just-aired American Gods.

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And for the grand finale we return to a more wintry Coronation Park than we saw in the first part of the season…

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…and then have the Handmaids marching through Hamilton, back towards the Commander’s house…

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…down Bay Street South.

The first season ends right where the book does, but they’re already gearing up for a second season that will answer all the questions left hanging and show us more tightly-cropped rooms filled with beautiful shafts of light all over this fair region.

Addendum: The creepy grocery store the Handmaids shop at was filmed inside the Cambridge Farmer’s Market.


CORRECTIONS: The mystery church, previously unidentified, is the former Wychwood-Davenport Presbyterian Church. Also, the movie theatre is the Cambridge Arts Theatre. It was previously identified as Hart House Theatre.

 

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