Where the final season of Orphan Black was filmed in Toronto
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Where the final season of Orphan Black was filmed in Toronto

Bidding a fond farewell to two Torontoist favourites.

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 has reveled in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

Dating back to October 2007, I’ve enjoyed producing new Reel Toronto columns about twice a month, but circumstances have conspired to make it too hard to keep up that pace, and 10 years seemed a good time to make a change and rest on my laurels.

After somewhere around 250 columns, there are plenty I don’t even remember doing (including backto-backto-back Marky Mark movies!), plenty of obscure gems, and plenty of terrible movies, both laughable and frightful. And even after a decade there are plenty of indie films I didn’t get to, plenty more things to come, and plenty of long-lost TV movies that may never again see the light of day. (Seriously, if anyone has a videotape of Dennis Rodman’s Bad as I Wanna Be, that’s the Holy Grail.)

It’s been a pleasure posting Reel Toronto alongside an amazing group of passionate writers and to work with all the great editors and copy editors—including Davids Hains and Topping, Hamutal Dotan, and Andrea Houston—who have passed through and shepherded the column over the past decade. And it’s been a pleasure having the wise hive mind of you fine readers contributing your knowledge as well.

I hope that the column, like Monty Python’s parrot, is not necessarily entirely dead and will still pop up as an occasional feature when deserving subjects arise. In the meantime, the finale of Orphan Black, a great piece of Toronto-centric pop culture, perfectly dovetailed with Reel Toronto’s 10-year anniversary as an apropos finale of my own, so let’s get to it.

The first seasons of Orphan Black were very ambiguous about whether or not the show was in Toronto. But that changed over time and now we’ve got a full-on local news broadcast.

Compared to previous seasons, the finale doesn’t visit too many new locations, but there are several, mixed in with old faves. We spend a lot of time on the Neolutionist’s island, the shoreline of which…

…is very clearly in Bluffer’s Park.

The impressive campsite…

…is one of our fave locations, Valley Halla, which you’d find if you went right instead of left turning into the Toronto Zoo.

Eagle-eyed fans no doubt recall it also appeared as a safehouse—an entirely different location—back in Season 2.

They also shot a great deal…

…in the handsome interior…

…including this greenhouse, which has also hosted everyone from Hannibal Lecter to Doctor Octopus and Batman.

This rendezvous was shot down in the portlands, just off Cherry Street.

You even get a wee peek at the CN Tower.

We go back and spend a fair bit of time at S’s house..

…on Morse Street. It’s pretty close to the Revival 629 studio, which served as the show’s home base.

There’s an extended sequence in the second episode where they go to Kira’s school, which is usually just Morse Street P.S., right across the street.

But these interiors…


…this exterior shot, reveal us to be way across town, at St. Veronica Catholic Elementary School, with the Mary McCormick Recreation Centre there in the back, well spotted by Sean Marshall, who knows all the inches of the city we don’t.

Another location making a comeback is Alison’s church…

…the Jubilee United Church, where we find Jayne Eastwood, vet of Second City and Goin’ Down the Road.

And, hey! It’s Stephen McHattie, veteran of a kajillion things, as top bad dude P.T. Westmoreland (or is he?!)

In Episode 4, S and Sarah run a little con at the Royal York…

…going into the very handsome Library Bar…

…which we saw in a very different context just a few weeks ago, in The Handmaid’s Tale.

This time we’re visiting Dr. Virginia Coady…

…who is locked up in an asylum…

…with really nice woodwork. It’s out in Mississauga at the Bickell Estate.

We also find Helena hiding out at this convent…

…which is really St. Luke’s United Church, on Sherbourne.

It does double duty, appearing a few episodes later…

…as this church where she kills a fellow clone.

And we see it outside as well.

From early on we’ve spent a lot of time at Bridgepoint Hospital, playing the Dyad Insitute.

But we get a lot of new angles this time…

… and spend some time in the “old wing”…

…which actually is the hospital’s old wing, better known as the Don Jail. Do you think they got chills not only knowing Tom Cruise had plied his trade here, but also delivered one of the most moving and eloquent monologues in cinematic history? We sure do. Man, it’s beautiful.

Anyway, those scenes were shot at the Old Don Jail, but these scenes, with Helena giving birth in the basement, were shot in the Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar. As if we’d leave you without some Distillery love.

In the finale, Sarah goes to take a GED at this school…

Westwood Middle School.

And S’s funeral takes place at St. James Cemetery.

We also make a final trip up to Alison’s house, in Markham’s Angus Glen neighbourhood (though in Season 1, her driver’s license indicated she lived in Scarborough). The backyard, seen way up top, is a set back down at Revival.

So ended the very fine Orphan Black and so too ends this column, at least in its current form. À la prochaine, fair Reel Toronto readers. Goodbye, until we meet again.