A (mostly) complete guide to the Toronto locations that showed up on Orphan Black
When Toronto shows up on screen, it’s usually doubling as New York, Chicago or another American city. In the sci-fi series Orphan Black, the city got to play itself. The show, which wrapped up on Saturday, follows a legion of clones—all played by Toronto-based powerhouse Tatiana Maslany—trying to find out who they are and how they’re connected. While none of the characters ever explicitly say our city’s name, they name-drop locations like Kensington Market, the Humber River, Parkdale and even “Scarberia.” Establishing shots show off the city’s skyline, the Don Valley Parkway and CityPlace. Maps of the city pop up every few episodes, and even the soundtrack skews local: songs by Peaches, Alvvays and Charlotte Day Wilson play in the background in bars and bedrooms. Here, a catalogue of the notable local locations that have shown up in five seasons of Orphan Black.
The pilot begins on a GO Train that’s pulling into “Huxley Station.” Sarah Manning, a British single mom who’s the show’s central clone, disembarks, and we realize she’s actually in Union Station.
While on the platform, Sarah spots her first lookalike, a cop named Beth Childs, who jumps in front of a speeding train before Sarah has a chance to talk to her.
Sarah then catches up with her foster brother, Felix Dawkins, at the Cameron House, a bar and music venue just west of Queen and Spadina.
In the pilot, we also get the first of many skyline shots.
Determined to figure out what was up with her dead doppelgänger, Sarah swings by Beth’s condo, a townhouse in CityPlace. The spot shows up frequently throughout the first season.
Another recurring location: Felix’s flat. The entrance is along Graffiti Alley. You can see the signature of local muralist Uber5000 on the wall next to the gate.
At the end of the first episode, Sarah meets another clone, Katja (who, like Beth, promptly dies), outside of the Hearn Generating Station.
In the second episode, Sarah impersonates Beth, the cop, and meets her partner, Art, at the Thompson Diner to review case details.
She then pretends to be Katja to get up to her room at the “Carlsborough Hotel,” which is actually the Thompson Hotel.
Later in the episode, viewers get their first look at “Bailey Downs,” home of clone Alison Hendrix, a pill-pushing suburban soccer mom. Bailey Downs is also the name of a neighbourhood in the Ginger Snaps movies, another project by director John Fawcett that features Maslany.
A couple of episodes later, Sarah, still impersonating Beth, checks out a crime scene on Bright Street, the famously crooked road in Corktown.
It’s conveniently just around the corner from the police station, a building next to the Richmond-Adelaide underpass on King East.
Later, Olivier and Paul go for a walk along the Esplanade. Paul is Beth’s boyfriend and monitor (someone who keep an eye on the clones), while Olivier is a slippery scientist who, in one of the show’s weirdest turns, has a little pink tail.
Cosima Neihaus, a PhD student at what is clearly the University of Toronto, is another one of Maslany’s clones. Here, she walks around the St. Michael’s College campus during an outing with her future girlfriend, Delphine Cormier.
Various parts of the Port Lands show up throughout the series. In this scene, Sarah meets with Dr. Aldous Leekie, a pop scientist who preaches Neolution—a sci-fi discipline that can be summed up as “self-directed evolution”—and seems to know a thing or two about the clones.
Leekie confronts Cosima outside the Dundas bus terminal and tries to convince her to trust him. You can spot the rippled walls of City Hall in the background.
Leekie and Cosima then chat during a drive along the Gardiner.
In the season finale, Sarah is taken to meet Rachel Duncan, a fellow Brit who grew up aware she was one of many clones, at the Bay-Adelaide Centre.
The second season kicks off with Sarah, on the run as usual. She steps into the Bus Terminal Family Restaurant on the Danforth, and is soon tracked down by one of the many factions after her DNA.
Paul takes a call from Sarah on the Puente de Luz bridge, which extends over the train tracks just north of CityPlace.
This one’s a gimme: Rachel’s apartment is in One King West.
While on the lam, Sarah visits the Streetsville United Church in Mississauga to look for information in the parish archives about the scientists behind the cloning project.
In season two, we get our best view of the Dyad Institute, a shady scientific organization run by Rachel. It’s housed in the real-life Bridgepoint Health facilities, which includes the converted Don Jail.
Later in the season, Sarah takes her sick daughter to be treated at the “Heliwell Centre,” which is actually Corus Quay, along Queens Quay East.
To start the third season, Sarah and Felix return to the Hearn. Felix calls the spot Cherry Beach, though the real beach is a short distance south (and a whole lot prettier).
Later in the season, Alison takes over her mom’s shop, Bubbles, which is located near the Mt. Pleasant GO station in Brampton.
We then see another clone, an oblivious beautician named Krystal Goderich. She gives Delphine a manicure at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a beauty bar on King West.
When Delphine leaves, she walks along King with Dr. Alan Nealon, a character played by veteran local actor Tom McCamus. Firkin on King can be seen in the background.
Here’s a strange one. Near the end of season three, Sarah and Felix return to their hometown. In reality, this shot of London is a mishmash of U of T’s Convocation Hall and some generic storefronts that are supposed to look more like the U.K., we guess.
Over multiple seasons, Rabbit Hole Comics, a fictional comic shop, serves a safehouse where Cosima can conduct research on the clones. It’s located at the corner of Dundas East and Seaton.
In season four, we meet Felix’s long-lost half-sister, Adele. They catch up over drinks by Underpass Park in the West Don Lands.
In the same episode, Siobhan Sadler, Sarah and Felix’s foster mom, meets the villainous Ferdinand Chevalier, Rachel’s murderous lover, at St. James Park.
Sarah visits Riverside Dental, a clinic near Queen East and Broadview, to have a mysterious biotech implant removed from inside her cheek.
Midway through the fourth season, Sarah needs to track down a car and decides to visit a scrapyard. It’s represented by this big red dot, which just so happens to be the Eaton Centre.
In the next episode, some of the characters visit BrightBorn, a dubious fertility facility that’s inside Le Germain Hotel at York and Bremner, between the ACC and the Rogers Centre. The blue B’s are usually white G’s.
Then the characters flee to one of their many safe houses. This one’s in the east end, just off of Greenwood.
Near the end of the fourth season, Sarah goes on a rebellious tear, snorting cocaine and making out with strangers. The setting—a performance by electro weirdo Peaches—feels appropriate.
The show is inside the Bovine Sex Club, which is given away by the…unique decor.
After the show, Sarah peels off to the Bathurst bridge, just south of Front, to drink alone. It’s one of the few times that viewers get a good look at the CN Tower outside of establishing shots.
Later, Felix joins Sarah on the bridge. That’s the Fort York library in the back.
Peaches isn’t the only local personality who shows up in the show. George Stroumboulopoulos interviews Evie Cho, the head of the aforementioned BrightBorn. Based on the positions of the buildings in the background, they seem to be inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox building.
Near the end of the season, one of the mothers affected by BrightBorn’s antics poses with an issue of the National Post to prove the date the photo was taken. Fun fact: the story at the top of the page, “No More Beige Food,” was written by Rebecca Tucker, a former Toronto Life editor.
Several recurring locations show up again in season five, but considering most of the season is set on an eerie Dr. Moreau–type island, the season is light on new Toronto locations. Here’s one exception: a scene in the Port Lands, in which Sarah tries to convince her daughter to hop in a van and get as far from the clone drama as she can, set against the city as the sun goes down.