Season 2 Episode 11 - “Trust Me”

Orchard Park Auto Repairs - Joey and Snake try to cover their tracks.

On very few occasions does a location present itself as virtually unchanged, even fewer when a business is still the same business, so Orchard Park Auto is an absolute pleasure to see in person.

Located at 76 Kingston Rd, on the corner of Orchard Park Blvd (exactly as stated by Joey on the show) the service station where the Zit Remedy spent their amplifier savings on repairing Snake’s parents’ taillight is still in business and remarkably well preserved.  There have been a few surface changes over the years, most notably the paint job, the signage and the name changed from Orchard Park Auto Repairs to Auto Service, but on the whole the place has barely changed.  For bonus points, the sign in the window to the right of Snake in the third image that reads, “Licensed Mechanic On Duty” is still in the window.

One thing that is a minor disappointment is that the phone booth Joey uses to call Wheels is gone.  It was a real phone, not a prop like the one used across the street from Degrassi Grocery in Season 1, and was removed between 2012 and 2013 according to Google Maps.  It’s pretty minor in the bigger picture, especially when you consider the garage itself is entirely intact.

If you’re going to visit:  Bring cash, it’s 85 bucks to fix a taillight.

Season 2 Episode 11 - “Trust Me”

Arnold’s Drive In - Joey & Snake stop for fries, the car takes a hit.

This is the farthest west I’ve had to travel for this project, it was a fairly demanding ride, and with little payoff as the location in question has long since been bulldozed.  In the interest of being thorough and proving myself correct however I regret nothing of this trip.

I was able to figure out where Arnold’s once stood by two small background details; a small GO Transit sign in the second image, and the water tower in the third.  The water tower is something I’ve seen dozens of times while passing by on the train out of Toronto, it is part of the Long Branch Arsenal Lands, where factories that made machine guns in the second world war stood.  On a map, finding the closest GO station to the tower is easy as it’s just east of the tower: Long Branch Station.  So if you situate yourself between the two, and look for the shapes of the apartment building just above Joey’s shoulder in the first image, you’ve got yourself an undiagnosed case of obsessive compulsive disorder, and the location of Arnold’s Drive In, where Joey and Snake stop for fries while taking Snake’s parents’ car for a spin.

It helps that a Google search of “Arnold’s Drive In Etobicoke” still yields a lot of restaurant review sites with the address to reinforce the accuracy of my claim. Also the new “turn back time” feature on Google Streetview allows you to see the area in 2007, when they had torn down the restaurant to build a sales office for the condo that stands there now, but the trapezoidal sign that stood in the parking lot was still there.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your own fries.

Season 2 Episode 11 - “Trust Me”

Apollo Eye Care Center - Joey and Snake drop off Wheels at his appointment.

When we last left the Zit Remedy they were meandering carelessly through the quiet streets of Riverdale, on their way to the Apollo Eye Care Center, a location that has changed in business, but in a appearance is still pretty close to what was seen on the show.

When the sequence ran on the show it took me a few passes to realize that I was looking at a place that I actually knew fairly well, and had also covered in season 1.  The Riverdale Shopping center is a plaza located at Carlaw Ave and Gerrard St. East (Not on Queen St. as Wheels states earlier in the episode), not only was it home to Apollo Eye care but also the Towers department store where Melanie bought a bra and Lucy stole a scarf, as well as a Laundromat that I used to go to (still there in case you’re wondering).

What gave it all away for me was the Good Year Service Centre in the background as it is still there.  When I spotted it, and looked at the angle of it compared to the other shops I knew what I was looking at.  From here it becomes a question of locating the shop itself.  I tried counting the pillars along the walkway, but that proved difficult as they have been modified to be larger since the show.  What ended up sealing the location for me was the large window of the shop to the left of Apollo, which angles in, toward the entrance.  It’s a detail I hadn’t noticed until I was on site.  Looking for number 451 above the door proved fruitless as the numbers of the shops have been reordered since filming, so the angle of the window ended up making me look closely at the window details of both businesses, and as you can see not much has changed.

As far as the businesses themselves, they resemble nothing of the late 1980’s.  Now instead of optometry this is iTel Wireless, a place that can fix a damaged iPhone (great reviews online actually) but unfortunately can’t provide you with a prescription for a big set of wire frame Wheels glasses, which is kind of a bummer.    

If you’re going to visit:  Be there on time!  Your appointment is at noon!

Season 2 Episode 11 - “Trust Me”

Bain and Withrow Avenues - Zit Remedy Joyride!

I’ve had a number of people contact me about this sequence, it seems to be a memorable moment in Degrassi history so it is my pleasure to finally get it online.  Because this sequence isn’t tied to a building location, I’m setting the map location to the first image in the sequence, from Google maps you can trace the direction of travel and see it all for yourself.

When we last left the Zit Remedy they had taken Snake’s parents’ car to get Wheels to the optometrist on time.  This sequence is shot a good distance from Snake’s House, and opens itself on Bain Avenue headed eastbound.  In the first image the trio are passing the retaining wall at Withrow Avenue Public School, where Joey is distracted by some girls on the street and proceeds to run the stop sign where Bain and Ingham Ave meet.  The school still exists but as you can see the colourful mural has been repainted that tone of grey that evokes feelings of emptiness popularized by East Germany, and North Korea.  I don’t really understand that choice, but I’m not on the school board, I just make smarmy comments on the internet.

After running the stop sign Joey has a near miss with a minivan at the corner of Bain and Logan Ave.  The green-roofed town homes in the background are actually what revealed the location to me as I had seen it a few times when I lived in the area.  Located on the Southwest corner of Bain and Logan Avenues, they have barely changed at all since the late 1980’s.

The sequence comes to a close as the car approaches the stop sign on Withrow Avenue where it connects with Broadview Avenue.  This was given away by the crosswalk, the skyline, and the streetcar that drives past on Broadview.  The conclusion of this sequence is one street south of where it started and ends facing west contrary to the eastbound direction it began….ahhh the magic of television.

If you’re going to visit:  Keep you eyes on the road Jeremiah!

Season 2 Episode 11 - “Trust Me”

Snake’s House - Joey and Wheels sleepover while Snake’s parents are away; Mayhem ensues.

The one thing that makes Snake’s house unique is its large front yard.  Set back from the road much further than the other houses around it, the house is kind of an anomaly in most Toronto subdivisions.  Of course, that is pretty meaningless in a Google map search.  When I was initially laying out my map, I had to leave the Simpson abode behind while I searched other locations and came up with a reasonable search plan.

After watching the sequences a few times something jumped out in the last few frames: a church across the street.  It’s not a lot to go on, but I was going to have to do this the same way I found the Delacorte Garage, only this time I’d be typing ‘church’ into Google Maps and birds eye scanning the city.  Strangely this process didn’t take very long as I naturally started east of the Don River, and looked for churches that appeared nestled in a subdivision, rather than on a corner, or on a main street; there are very few.  Within a few minutes I was looking at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which sits opposite 76 Hiawatha Road, a small two storey home, set back from the road with a large yard, where the fictional Simpson family lived in the late 1980’s.

76 Hiawatha has remained very much the same since the episode was recorded, the most notable change being the house number moving to a higher, more visible location on the front of the house.  Time has allowed the plants in the front yard to grow and obscure the view but beyond that, nothing much has changed.  This is one of the rare gems in my adventures that has remained untouched, and makes this whole project really seem worth riding a bike all over town for.  Seriously, this episode is all over the place once Joey convinces Snake to let him drive the family car.

If you’re going to visit: Make sure Snake’s parents don’t see you, otherwise you’ll blow the whole thing.  As always, be respectful, this is someone’s home.

Season 2 Episode 9 - “Dog Days”

Jimmie Simpson Park - Arthur and Stephanie cross paths while cutting class.

There aren’t a lot of serious landmarks in the two sequences this park appears, making it a little difficult to narrow down.  When you consider that none of the classic, rusty, dangerous playground equipment exists anymore, it gets a little more difficult.

What ended up tipping me off was the concrete retaining wall in the background of the first sequence in which Arthur and Yick cross the park.  A retaining wall that runs through a park isn’t a very common thing, so it boils down to why would a retaining wall be necessary?  Elevated train tracks was the first thing I thought of, followed the tracks on Google maps and found Jimmie Simpson Park has a set of tracks that runs very close along its western edge.  Just to be thorough, the houses in the background of the later sequence with Arthur and Steph are still there and act as the only means of estimating where the swings would have stood.

There’s not really much to see at this location now in regard to the preservation of an 80’s teen drama, the need for safer playgrounds has seen to that.  Whether or not this is a good thing I don’t know, I don’t have kids so I tend not to worry about these things.  The upside is: It’s still a park, with a playground and that’s an important thing in a city with a rapidly increasing population.

If you’re going to visit:  Do it when you should be somewhere else.  Skipping school or work or baseball practice or whatever adds to the experience.

Season 2 Episode 9 - “Dog Days”

Prince Edward Viaduct - Stephanie deals with suicidal thoughts.

More popularly know as the Bloor Viaduct, the Prince Eddy has been the site of numerous suicides throughout its life since it was opened in 1918, second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  So Stephanie’s flirtation with jumping off of it is based in a realistic possibility for any depressed Toronto pre-teen in the 1980’s.  In the early 2000’s a suicide prevention fencing was added to the structure, making it very difficult to get past the railing, or to take decent photos for comparative purposes to an 80’s teen drama.
In the dream sequence at the beginning of the episode Steph is seen looking over the edge from below the bridge, based on the following sequence this is the south side of the viaduct, east of the Don River.  After the cut it is clear that she is walking east across the bridge based on the foliage in the background as there is little to be found on the east side.  She stops, looks over and drops a stick into the Don River south of the bridge and wakes to her alarm.  Later in the episode she approaches from the north on the bike path that runs alongside Bayview Avenue, this is made obvious by the fence to the left of the path, which isn’t found on the Lower Don Trail headed north.
As a Torontonian this isn’t a difficult location to map, just difficult to re shoot.  With the suicide fence interference and trying to match up the angles on the shots below the bridge this isn’t my best set of photos.  I don’t feel great about posting sub-par images, but I’ll get over it, suicide isn’t for me.
If you’re planning to visit: I hope you’re going for your interest for the show.  If you’re thinking the same way Stephanie was please reach out and talk to someone, your parents, a teacher, friends, hell reach out to me if you want, just talk to someone.

Season 2 Episode 8 - “Sealed With A Kiss”

Harry O’s - Wheels and Joey are met by Snake while enjoying some after school fries.

This is one of those locations that just gets handed to you when you pay way too close attention to a show like I do.  With the 1186 on the door in the second image and the streetcar that rolls past during the sequence, 1186 Queen Street East was pretty easy to track down.  When I rode over, new owner Peter Xenou (last photo) confirmed for me that before this was the Leslieville Diner, it was in fact Harry O’s.

With the location confirmed all that’s left to scrutinize is the changes that have taken place over the last 25 years, which aren’t very many.  The windows have been replaced, but are essentially the same, also the doorway is now enclosed to keep the room temperate, also the section at the front of the restaurant has been raised.  This is all fairly minimal when you consider two things: It’s still a restaurant, and the table that the Zit Remedy are sitting at is still in the same place.  Sure it’s all new furniture, but that’s meaningless when you can reenact this bizarre subplot about Snake taking classical guitar lessons, putting the future of the Zit Remedy in jeopardy.  Ok, maybe most of you aren’t willing to go that far, but it’s still cool.

If you’re going to visit: Peter recommends the Eggs Europe, but will make you some fries if you’re in for the authentic Degrassi Junior High  experience.

Season 2 Episode 8 - “Sealed With a Kiss”

Cherry Beach - Aaron takes Heather for a drive in his dad’s car.

This is a location gives itself away on one detail.  When Aaron parks the car, in the background is the Cherry Beach lifeguard station, the only one of its type that I’ve ever seen.  So notable a building that it is the only image that appears on the Wikipedia article on the beach.

After dropping in on the beach via Google maps the larger building that appears in the first image, is still intact (it houses the public restrooms) and a remarkable amount of the treeline is still the same as it was during shooting.  What has changed is the parking situation, which has been modified to be a little more orderly and properly paved, but really the location is the same as it was when Aaron tried to taste Heather’s tonsils.  

For the truly dedicated to recreate this sub-romantic encounter, the question of where the car is parked is of high importance, so let’s give it a little thought.  From the beginning of the scene the car drives essentially straight forward, which is from east to west.  On the way they pass the restrooms and come to a stop with the lifeguard station in view over Aaron’s shoulder.  I’m placing them just alongside the off-leash dog park that has been put in (the second one I’ve run into in my adventures), just outside of the current parking lot.  I wouldn’t try to park your car there, but a tandem bike should suit your needs just fine.

If you’re going to visit: Bring a spare, Cherry Street is a nightmare for cycling on, I broke a spoke on my way here.  Also, bring mints, in case your date goes well.      

Season 2 Episode 8 - ‘Sealed with a Kiss’

Heather and Erica’s House - Aaron arrives to pick up Erica, goes out with Heather instead.

This location, along with Rick’s Apartment in Season 1, were the reasons I began mapping the DJH series.  I knew where both were because I lived relatively close to them at one time, from here it became a heavily dotted Google map, filled with notes.

The Farrell sisters lived on Pape Avenue in Toronto, and while some of the surroundings are in the midst of change, number 91 is still standing and aside from minor details is the same as it was in 1987, which is probably why I took so many photos.

Aaron approaches in his Dad’s car from Queen St, as he makes the turn we can see indications of a gas station on the corner, and make out a few background buildings.  The gas station only exists as a service station today, but it is still there.  As the car parks we get a good look at some neighboring houses, which haven’t changed much, and Aaron makes his way to the front door.  At the door we can see a few changes, a banister, a new door, but unlike some adventures on this blog, we’re looking at pretty much the same place.  The most significant change is in the lot north of 91 Pape, which is in the midst of condo development, but we can still make out the distinct windows of the Scotiabank that occupies the Northwest corner of Pape and Queen (top left in the 5th image).  When Heather and Aaran leave we get a couple more views of the neighboring buildings, and a shot of Erica in the bedroom window, horrified that her boyfriend has been stolen by her own sister.

In the greater scope of this project the twins’ house is a great location in its preservation, sometimes riding out to a place only to find it completely modified or demolished can be a little disheartening.  Having locations like this one still standing makes continuing with my efforts seem a little more worthwhile.

If you’re going to visit: Don’t believe what the kids are saying, you are as rash and spontaneous as you need to be, but don’t get too carried away, this is someone’s home, so please be respectful.