Season 3 Episode 3 - “A Big Girl Now”

Kempton Howard Park - Clutch and Paul talk Lucy into hosting a party

This is one of those locations that is a little difficult to decipher using only Google Maps, mostly because the person driving the Google mobile never drives through a playground to get a better view.  More work for people like me I guess.  This I found by searching around an area I knew had been used for filming on the show. 

In the background of this sequence is Earl Grey Senior Public School, you can see it in the first image, blocked by 25 years of tree growth in my photo.  Earl Grey is where the cafeteria sequences were shot in season 3, and this is the only sequence that includes the exterior of the school, it seems to be standing in for Borden High so that this sequence can be shot. Kempton Howard Park is situated just south of the school.

As you can see there are some obvious changes, most notably the steel handrail along the edge of the retaining wall.  What I’ve left out is the playground from which Clutch delivers his compelling argument about being cool that convinces Lucy to host a party at her house.  I’ve left it out because like nearly all playgrounds from the 1970’s and 1980’s it has been completely replaced by well constructed, extremely safe, and generally boring playground features.

The good news is that the retaining wall where Paul and Lucy are romantically entangled is still intact for the most part.  A few bricks are missing, and the uninspired graffiti is growing, but this is all about par for the course in a 25 year gap.

If you’re going to visit: Pack a lunch, and bring your own tire swing.


Season 3 Episode 2 - “Can’t Live with ‘Em Part II”

Toronto Necropolis - Wheels’ parents are laid to rest

This location is one of my bigger achievements in this adventure, there are a number of cemeteries in Toronto, and I have been to very few of them, so finding this one was exciting for me.  The only real piece of evidence to use in a Streetview search is the chapel that can be seen in the background of much of what was shot.  The distinct pattern of the shingles being the best indicator, I began dropping into Google Streetview in the east end of the city looking for the same pattern.  In a 25 year gap, I’d say I got pretty lucky to find that the pattern on the roof is still the same at Toronto Necropolis.

With the cemetery pinned down I focused my efforts on finding the exact spot where John and Helen Wheeler were said to be buried.  Which isn’t too difficult once you establish the location of the chapel, and then start paying close attention to the headstones in the background of the sequence.  The easiest way to find it today is to locate the small sculpture by artist Kosso Eloul which is a little ways northwest of the entrance.  The Wheelers were buried right next to it, as you can see in the last image, right below the large dark tombstone.

I shot this location way in May in order to catch the location without too many leaves on the trees, so that the chapel would still be visible.  I sometimes wonder if my dedication to this endeavor of mine is a little obsessive.  I mean its one thing to find a place, but to go around pinpointing fictional peoples’ graves is a little on the strange side, following it up by posting it on the internet is probably a red flag in some realm of psychoanalysis.

If you’re going to visit: Bring flowers, and be respectful.

Season 3 Episode 1 - “Can’t Live With ‘Em Part I”

Wheels’ House - Wheels sneaks out to band practice while his parents are at the movies.

Anyone who has been following this adventure of mine knows that I already covered Wheels’ house back in Season 1.  Further to that, you’ve probably noticed that the interior shots of the Wheeler household don’t change at all, but this exterior shot is entirely different.

Located at 179 Pape Ave., at Brighton Ave. this house serves as the exterior facade of the Wheeler home for only this episode, the interior as far as I know, wasn’t part of the show.  I managed to locate this by accident while mapping for another episode; knowing that the creators of the show had used a few locations on Pape I happened to stop in front of it and notice the distinctive white, round-edge numbers on the house, same as they were when the show was filmed.  As you can see not much about the location has changed, a little paint, some tree growth but not much else, fairly well preserved.

If you’re going to visit: Don’t be late, your parents will know you were hanging with that bad influence Joey Jeremiah.  As always, be respectful, this is someone’s home.

Season 3 Episode 1 - “Can’t Live With ‘Em Part I”

Borden High - The first day of Grade 9 Science at a ‘real’ high school

In my initial layout of where each location is on a map of Toronto, I placed this location hastily, and didn’t realize that I had it wrong until I had ridden all the way to the wrong place.  Luckily there was another location I needed to shoot close by. so that wasn’t a total waste of an afternoon. 

When I got home I began to reexamine the limited information in the few frames available.  Without much to go on, I decided to try a different route to narrow my search.  My interest in the past is shared by many Torontonians, as proven by the Vintage Toronto Facebook page started by Bill Stevenson.  On the page Bill has compiled more photos of this city than I am prepared to count, but importantly he has categorized them into albums by neighborhood, and lucky for me, one album is strictly dedicated to schools.  I began scrolling through the images for the most castle-like buildings the TDSB had to offer, and after several drops on Google Streetview, I had what I was looking for.

Northern Secondary School, 851 Mount Pleasant Rd, is the location of Borden High.  The first image was shot from the southwest corner of Mt Pleasant and Roehampton Ave.  The second is from Episode 15, but serves to provide a little more information about the front facade, and is shot from just south of Broadway Ave, on Mt. Pleasant.  Other than some serious tree growth and the changing of a few telephone poles this school looks unchanged form the outside, matching up my images to stills from the show was easy.

If you’re going to visit: Quiet in the halls, there are other classes in session.


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.