Pop Culture

Top 10 TV-Show-Inspired Road Trips in Ontario

If this past year saw you binging every TV show available to you, there’s a chance you watched a show that was filmed not too far from where you live. Hollywood North is booming and some very popular shows that have gotten international attention have been filmed right here in Ontario at locations that are close enough for a quick road trip.

Here we’ve picked out a few iconic filming locations from some of your favourite shows that aren’t too difficult to travel to. If you’re bored and have nothing to do, a movie location road trip could be a fun and safe way to explore.

The Queen’s Gambit – Toronto, Hamilton, and Cambridge

This mini-series about a chess prodigy took the world by storm this past year, and there are more than a few scenes filmed in Toronto, including outside the Winners on Front Street East by Berczy Park and the Meadowvale Creek Bridge by the Rouge National Park. However, a few other scenes were shot outside of Toronto, for example by the Bohemian Cafe in Hamilton at the corner of Walnut and King Streets, or Brant Street in Cambridge.

Star Trek: Discovery – Milton, Jordan, and Toronto

Even special-effects-heavy sci-fi shows feature picturesque filming locations. The ever-popular Star Trek: Discovery has turned many spots around Toronto into something new, like the Aga Khan Museum filling in for the Vulcan Science Academy, the Hearn Generation Plant as the USS Hiawatha (and the facility on Essof IV), and Bluffer’s Beach as a Kelpien village. Outside of the big city, Discovery has found a few hidden gems like Ball’s Falls and Historic Village in Jordan, Ont., in the episode “New Eden,” or Milton’s Kelso Conservation Area and Hilton Falls as Pahvo Forest and Ridge.

The Expanse – Toronto, Scarborough, and Oshawa

Another sci-fi gem, The Expanse uses Toronto as its playground, with many scenes having been shot in and around recognizable downtown landmarks, including Roy Thompson Hall, City Hall, and Corus Quay. A few other unique spots can be found around the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, specifically the Science and Humanities wings which portray the M.C.R. Embassy. Outside of Toronto, in Oshawa, you can find the Parkwood Estate & Gardens filling in for the Mao Estate, as seen in a few second season episodes.

Schitt’s Creek – Orangeville and Goodwood

This CBC comedy became a huge hit and while Schitt’s Creek may seem like a cozy little town, its major filming locations are hardly next-door neighbours. You can find the Rosebud Motel at 308399 Hockley Road, in Mono, near Orangeville; while Cafe Tropical is located at 4163 Concession 3 Road in Goodwood – over 80 km away. While in Goodwood, you can also visit Bob’s Garage at 4179 Concession 3 Road or Rose Apothecary at 299 Highway 47. The latter is better known to locals as Romni Goodwood and is a wool shop, rather than the general store depicted in the show.

The Boys – Toronto and Hamilton

This Amazon Prime Original series presents a darker and more cynical take on superheroes. As is often the case, here Toronto stands in for New York. While a lot of CGI is used to mask a few famous landmarks, you can spot Roy Thompson Hall as the Vought International headquarters, as well as Yonge–Dundas Square, filling in for New York’s Times Square. Other important scenes take place in Hamilton like the Scottish Rite Club, which is used as the Church of the Collective, while Tim Hortons Field sets the stage for the race between A-Train and Shockwave.

Tiny Pretty Things – Toronto

This drama series about a ballet school is filmed in Chicago and the Greater Toronto Area. Some of the bigger sets are right here in the big city, as the Royal Conservatory of Music at 273 Bloor St. West, which is called the Archer School of Ballet in the show. The show also films its rehearsal scenes at Hammerson Hall in the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. They also filmed a music video over at The Bentway under the Gardiner. Even easily recognizable Toronto landmarks like Casa Loma make an appearance in the series.

Letterkenny – Sudbury

While Letterkenny is one of the more popular sitcoms on our list, it’s also set in Canada, meaning there’s no need to hide or mask shooting locations to make them seem like somewhere else. Letterkenny is filmed in Sudbury and surrounding locations. Wayne’s farm is just north of Sudbury on Cote Boulevard, while MoDean’s Roadhouse is really the Frood Hotel. Any hockey scenes are typically filmed at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex just south of the city.

Titans – Toronto and Kingston

DC Comics’ dark TV series about the not-so-Teen Titans uses Toronto, Hamilton, and Oshawa for Gotham, Detroit, and Chicago. In fact, Wayne Manor (yes, where Bruce Wayne/Batman resides) is actually Casa Loma, while Caulder House, where the Doom Patrol is based, is actually Parkwood Estate in Oshawa. Scenes where Dick Grayson was in jail were filmed in Kingston Penitentiary, an interesting choice considering the site was expected to be used back in 1978 for the original DC Comics Superman movie with Christopher Reeves, but it ended up being a security and safety concern at the time.

Umbrella Academy – Toronto, Hamilton, and Oshawa

Netflix’s own superhero series also uses a number of locations throughout Hamilton. The actual Umbrella Academy is found at 54 King Street East in Hamilton, while the characters assemble to scatter their father’s ashes at the Max Tanenbaum Courtyard behind the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Although the second season is set in Dallas, Texas, the streets of Hamilton do a fine job of filling in. Many establishing shots in the second season are filmed on Ottawa Street North and Britannia Avenue, with some window dressing to fit the time period. The series also uses the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa as the mansion worthy of a cult leader.

Suits – Toronto

The fast-pace legal drama Suits is supposed to be set in New York but is shot mostly in Toronto and the surrounding areas. The main location for all the legal happenings is the office of Pearson Specter Litt, which is actually the Bay Adelaide Centre in Toronto. Other highlights in the series include a scene at the Lakeview Diner at Dundas and Ossington, the bar Citizen on King Street West, the Fairmont Royal York, and the Toronto Necropolis. At least they didn’t use Casa Loma like half the other entries on this list did!