Season 2 Episode 7 - “Bottled Up”

ITV Studios - After ‘Quest for the Best’ Rick offers to walk Kathleen home.

The ITV Studio location is another great example of searching for something with almost no visual information.  I sometimes impress myself with what I’m able to glean from a few frames and actually locate.

In the sequence all that is really visible is a few nondescript buildings and an unpaved lot.  This isn’t very much to go on, even for me and I’m certifiably crazy about details.  I must have rewatched this scene 10 times before I noticed the letter C on a secondary building right before the cut.  At that moment I realized that I still had almost nothing.  Walking away from this search was the best choice, after a few weeks of searching for other locations I came back to this with a clear head.  There are very few instances where buildings are identified by letter, unless they are part of the same company, with the size of these buildings I started to wonder if the ITV Studio was an actual TV Studio, after that, everything fell into place.

Located at 65 Heward Avenue in Toronto, ITV studios is a part of the Studio District along Eastern Avenue.  The building the kids are seen exiting is buliding B, accessible at the southern end of Heward Ave.  The building has been painted, and there’s been an addition of an awning, but the placement of the windows, the fire bell and the fact that the buildings are still identified by letter solidify this as the location of ITV.  Interestingly, the location is still a studio, leased through The Rose and Thistle Group. I feel that it is safe to speculate that “Quest for the Best” was likely filmed on the interior.

If you’re going to visit: Don’t forget your sweater, it’s getting cold out and Rick probably wont be there to walk you home.

Season 2 Episode 7 - “Bottled Up”

Pizza Place - In an effort to up their social standing, Scooter and Max attempt to buy cigarettes from a vending machine.

Sometimes you get handed a pretty clear shot of where things are when you’re working on a mapping project, this pizza place is one of those instances.  The 8001 (1008 for those of us on the other side) on the glass door in the background of the first shot makes this location easy to find, followed up by the getaway scene after Scooter and Max are caught shaking the vending machine providing a fairly clear shot of the front facade of Shoppers Drug Mart in the distance.  You may remember the Shoppers as the location where Spike bought a pregnancy test, and where Joey bought condoms for his date with Liz.

Occupying 1008 Queen Street East now is a restaurant called The Upper Crust, and while they don’t have a vending machine that dispenses cigarettes they do have pizza, although I’m told the eggplant parmigiana is the best bet on the menu.  Either way, it’s still a restaurant, and that’s a win from my standpoint.

Outside there are few changes.  A paint job, and the addition of a small patio, but essentially the building looks the same as it did during filming, as does most of the street.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your own cigarettes.  Actually don’t, smoking isn’t all that cool.

Season 2 Episode 6 - “Fight!”

Schuyler Park - Joey and Dwayne meet after school to settle their differences with fists.

There are several theories about where Schuyler Park (named for Degrassi co-creator Linda Schuyler) actually is.  The most popular of these is Christie Pits on Bloor West.  The pits has an enclosed court, and is a basin which makes it a great candidate, but in a side by side comparison it just doesn’t line up.  The park in which the second greatest fight in Degrassi history took place is actually nestled in the centre of Riverdale, its actual name is Withrow Park. 

The fight takes place in the southwest basin of the park, below the playing field, and south of the rink.  Joey makes his grand entrance from the east, at the top of the hill where the playing field sits.

There have been a few changes to the location since the fight, most notable is the off-leash dog area, which is fenced off and layered with wood chips.  South of this is a gravel baseball diamond, which I believe is relatively new as it can’t be spotted in the sequence, and is much too close to where the fight takes place to be easily omitted.  What has remained, and what really secures this location as correct is the outdoor rink.  With its slight elevation and proximity to the hill, it is the most recognizable feature in the sequence.

The fight itself took place somewhere between the dog park and the baseball diamond, close to the bottom of the hill. 

If you’re going to visit: Don’t chicken out, Dwayne probably wont be waiting for you.  Better bring your two best friends to break it up just in case though.

Season 2 Episode 4 - “Dinner and a Show”

Fox Theatre - Snake and Melanie go on their first date.

The exterior of this location only makes for a few seconds of footage in this episode, but there is enough information to glean exactly where it is if you’ve seen a movie in Toronto’s east end.

While a great many of the smaller cinemas in Toronto have been shuttered, demolished, or re-purposed, the Fox Theatre has managed to hold on, and that’s how I was able to begin my search.  That search was proven in the first few minutes of looking at Google maps;  To spot that ticket booth, narrow entryway and telltale east sloping road is to know beyond doubt.

Located at 2236 Queen Street East, the exterior has undergone some modifying, with a newish sign and modern doors, and I believe the sidewalk has been widened since 1987.  This is really not much of an issue to those who are in it for the Degrassi experience, because the important fact here is that you can still take a date to see a monster movie here, it may not be ‘Revenge of the Reptiles’, but it still counts.

For extra credit: this is the same theatre where Joey and Caitlin see “Teen Academy IV” in Season 3.

If you’re going to visit: Keep an eye out for fedora wearing saboteurs that aim to ruin your date.

Season 2 Episode 4 - “Dinner and a Show”

Bridgeport Restaurant - Spike and Shane’s parents finally meet.

This location would have been left out of this project entirely had it not been for the inclusion of a close-up shot of the menu during the sequence.  Without being told that this was the Bridgeport Restaurant, then there would only be interiors to go from, and that isn’t enough.  Interior only shooting is the reason I can’t share Melanie’s house, or Shane’s house.  In this case however, we have a little bit of advertising so we get to see what 25 years has left us with.

As luck would have it, the Bridgeport is still a restaurant (good news for the purist tourists who want all they can get out of a location).  There has been a change of ownership, menu, and name, but after a quarter century I’d say we’re doing pretty good.
Located at 3473 Lakeshore Blvd West, the restaurant is now called Kalamata and as it would turn out owned by the very friendly Pat Zisis who allowed me to take photos inside (seriously, thank you Pat!).  As you can see the interior has been redone, but spatially we’re essentially looking at the same place.  The entryway is still about the same and, while I’m trying to estimate in the second photo, I’m pretty sure that you can be seated in the same spot where this awkward took place.

If you’re going to visit: Make sure you get separate cheques, and a Bailey’s on ice.  Spike’s mom will settle for no less.

Season 2 Episode 3 - “Great Expectations”

Liz’s House - Joey heads to Liz’s house after school with big plans.

The O’Rourke house is one of my favorite finds in this project, not for its importance to story, but because its the first location that I searched for that required a lot of intense scrutiny and found.

When you glance at the show, there aren’t a lot of stand out details that give it away.  It’s a quiet street, and it’s one way, but at first glance, there isn’t really much to go on, there isn’t even a visible number on the house.  There are an enormous number of quiet one way streets in Toronto, so many that I didn’t think this was going to happen, but after watching the clip a dozen times something really jumped out at me that is an anomaly for Toronto: a boulevard lawn.  That’s right, a thin strip of grass between the road and the sidewalk is a rare sight in Toronto and what lit a fire under this search.

The first thing to do would be to slow scroll satellite view until I found one, which is easy to say, but requires a lot of patience.  The next step is to look at the background, and that second floor bay window across the street in the first frame is a perfect marker.  So after a few weeks of searching, I found it (in case you hadn’t guessed already), and surprisingly not a lot has changed in the surrounding buildings (That bay window is still there, hidden by a tree in my photo).

Located at 71 Alton Avenue in Toronto’s east end, Liz’s house is still standing.  There’s been a paint job, some numbers added and the front lawn has been converted to a garden, but other than that, it’s the same place it was in 1987.  For bonus points the neighbor to the north still has the iron fence around their yard (4th photo) and it’s still open.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your homework and some condoms, but don’t expect it to mean you’re getting any.  As always, respect other people’s property.

Season 2 Episode 2 - “A Helping Hand”

Lucy’s House - L.D. hangs out after school for an unwanted makeover.

This is possibly one of the most important locations in the entire series.  The Fernandez home is the place where far too many things begin to go awry for many of the characters.  This is where Stephanie Kaye got drunk before the dance, and where Spike and Shane had sex for the first time.  Lucy’s parents easy attitude has left the home open to every major Degrassi Junior High party in the series. While the house has appeared a few times in the series before S2E2, nothing has been as clearly obvious as this episode, so the entry falls here.

Located at 120 Pape Avenue, Lucy’s house hasn’t really changed all that much in 26 years.  A little paint and plant growth has changed the look, but the face is still structurally the same, and that little white picket fence still borders the property.  The neighboring buildings are fundamentally unchanged as well, including the green vinyl awning above the door of 124 Pape.  It’s a nice find for this project.

Locating the house was simple enough once we get to this episode.  With clear shots of the house number and the adjacent buildings, plus the information gleaned from earlier episodes (S2E1 Spike storms off after arguing with Shane towards a traffic light, situating the house close to an intersection) this really just came down to an educated guess.

If you’re going to visit: BYOB & BYOEggbert, but don’t smash him on the driveway.  Someone lives here so, please respect the property.

Season 1 Episode 12 - “Parents’ Night”

Duke of Connaught Tavern - Wheels and Joey go to see Mike and the Drifters practice.

This is the last location in Season 1 and to be honest its still a great location.  While it’s clear to see that the Duke of Connaught is no more, and there has been some reno to the front facade as well as a paint job, it is still a bar.  When you’re blogging about a 26 year old tv show, this is a rarity and a nice surprise.

Located at 458 Queen St. West, Tortilla Flats took over the space in the mid 2000’s and has been offering up tex-mex and cheap drinks ever since.  I’d link them out, but they don’t have a website, so in a way, they’re a lot like the Duke.  The interior has changed quite a bit since The Drifters rolled through town; the stage is gone and there’s a lot more natural light inside, which removes that gloomy, vampiric feel that’s present in the sequence.

Outside we’re given a pretty good view of Queen St. West and Augusta Ave, and as we cross Augusta a Kentucky Fried Chicken that still stands, heavily modified and has grown a Taco Bell, but still serving up the colonel’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices.

Finding this location didn’t really take a lot of effort, the Duke of Connaught was around for the first few years of my life in Toronto, and something of legend.

If you’re going to visit: Make sure you bring a birth necklace to throw in someone’s face.

Season 1 Episode 12 - “Parents’ Night”

Long’s Grill - Wheels meets with his biological father Mike for chocolate milkshakes.

Let me just start off by saying that you have to get up pretty early on a Sunday to get pictures of downtown Toronto with no people in them, but I did it and you’re welcome.

As Wheels and Mike exit the restaurant they head north on Yonge street towards Wellington ave.  As you can see, the face of the the former entrance has been restored to its pre 1970’s look, before its faux marble veneer.  Of course it’s also had the entrance way completely removed and replaced with windows.  The upside is that it’s still a restaurant, a really big restaurant actually, so milkshakes are still a possibility.

The Swiss restaurant chain Marché took this location and the spaces north and south of it and made one restaurant.  The Mr. Discount that the pair pass as they head north is actually part of the restaurant now.  The exterior however is still very much the same.

The dialogue continues with a north view of Yonge street from Wellington with some new buildings but a lot of the old ones are still holding their ground.  Mike and Wheels part ways, Mike headed west on Wellington, Wheels to the east, and once again we can see a lot of similarity between then and now.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your dad, and order chocolate milkshakes

Season 1 Episode 11 - “It’s Late”

Broadview Community Health Clinic - Spike and Shane see a doctor about their pregnancy concerns.

As someone who lived in Toronto’s east end for a couple of years I knew this location within the first few frames.  There aren’t many buildings in the whole city that are set this far back from the street, let alone have park space in front of them.  Located at 791 Queen Street East, Broadview Community Health Clinic is no more, but the building in which it was located is still there, modified, but still there. 

The sequence opens with Spike and her mom sitting in their car, parked at the corner of the incredibly short Strange Street, and Queen St. East, the clinic seen in the background.  It’s not the easiest thing to re-shoot with a now foliage full park (the sequence is likely early winter), but the red brick building beside the space is still the same. 

Shane approaches from Queen Street next to a now non-existent bus shelter, but the second floor bay windows of the building in the background help to confirm the location.  For bonus points, it’s masked by bushes in my re-shoot but the concrete bench in the foreground is still there, probably because it’s indestructible.  Double points go to Regal Hardware for still being in business across the street.

In the years since this the Broadview Clinic it has come into the hands of the Sisters of St. Joseph, where they operate the Mustard Seed Ministry.  Mustard Seed offers mostly free programming for the development of life skills, like cooking, sewing, knitting, and basic computing with special priority for those without access to a good chance to learn.  As it would turn out, most of the Sisters here have been in the neighborhood all their lives, and can tell you just about anything about the building’s history, or the whole neighborhood for that matter.  Honestly, they were the sweetest people I’ve met on my travels so far.

If you’re going to visit:  Don’t expect any testing, the Sisters here are cool, but probably not that kind of cool.  Also, you be cool, this is a sacred space for those who use it, your respect for that is what matters.