Season 1 Episode 11 - ‘It’s Late’

Ryerson Rink - Yick and Melanie finally go on a date.

In the world of Degrassi Junior High, Yick’s interest in Melanie goes on for a while.  When he finally mans up and asks here out (without stumbling over his words) he takes her ice skating, which is pretty good for a pre-teen, I mean it’s low cost and fun, so good thinking.

In the real world, taking your date skating at the same rink where Yick and Melanie went is still a possibility. Ryerson Rink, located at the corner of Victoria and Gould Streets is still frozen over and maintained in the winter for skating.

As you can see not much has changed to this small concrete pond in the middle of the city over the last couple decades.  The same towering rocks that the kids weaved through are still standing where they did on that date.  While one of the Ryerson University buildings has grown to hover above a section of the rink, it doesn’t interfere too much with the layout.  The surrounding area on the other hand has its share of change, building up the skyline and of course the demolition the landmark Sam the Record Man store that sat northwest of the rink facing Yonge Street (second image, top right).

In spite of all that change, this is still a pretty great little piece of downtown Toronto, although the change rooms are under a lot of renovation, so leave your adolescent thoughts of sneaking away to make out in seclusion at home.

If you’re going to visit:  Go in the winter.  There’s something a little bemusing about not being able to skate it.

Season 1 Episode 11 - ‘It’s Late’

Spike’s Apartment - Spike heads home with a lot on her mind and a pregnancy test in hand.

The limited amount of visual information given, and the fact that this sequence was shot at twilight make this one of the most difficult locations to pin down in the whole of the series.  Fortunately I rarely give up.

The lower level entry apartment where Spike lives with her mother is located in the 28 Henry Street apartment complex, at the corner of Henry and Cecil Streets, with the entrance is on Cecil St. 

As you can see from the photos not a lot about the location has changed except for plant growth.  The same white railings, green doors, and even the same apartment numbers (5d is still the same as it was).  The increased tree and plant growth, coupled with the full foliage of summer make this spot a little difficult to shoot, but I think its all fairly clear.  The driveway that Spike cuts across before heading down the stairs has also been covered over by wheelchair access ramps.

I knew that I needed to look in the Kensington Market/Grange Park area, but that’s a pretty big search area.  What eventually lead me to this location was the steps in the second still frame.  There are very few buildings anywhere that have a steep set of entry steps and an iron gate that aren’t churches, so searching for churches on Google Maps helped me to find the Russian Orthodox Church that appears in the background.

If you’re going to visit:  Don’t let your mom see what’s in that bag, and as always, respect the property of others.

Season 1 Episode 11 - ‘It’s Late’

Shoppers Drug Mart - Heather and Erica go with Spike to buy a pregnancy test.

This is a rare occasion in which the location is still an operational business, and incredibly easy to locate given that a street sign appears in the frame.  At the corner of Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue you can still buy a pregnancy test.

Of course the name is about the only thing that has remained the same about this location.  Like most businesses that have been around this long, a lot has changed, from the logo, to the layout of the store nothing has survived the near 30 year stretch.  Even the door is in a different place.

If you’re going to visit: Buy a pregnancy test and try and do that same shameful walk Spike does.

Season 1 Episode 11 - ‘It’s Late’

Woodgreen Beauty Salon - Spike helps out after school by sweeping up at her mom’s salon.

Woodgreen beauty is actually seen a few times in the Degrassi Junior High series, with similar outdoor shots.  The very distinctive face of the building had me thinking that the location was going to be fairly easy to find, or bulldozed into nothing.  The first major clue came after Spike is inside and a double-length TTC streetcar rolls past.  There aren’t a lot of routes that run double length cars, so I went straight to Queen Street.  Logically I started at Broadview Avenue and began working my way east on Google Streetview, it took about 3 blocks before I had it.

Located at 913 Queen St East the building no longer houses a salon, but remains in very much the same shape as it was during filming in 1986.  Two large window panes out front and a slight angle leading into the front door.  The framed opening in the front has also managed to remain, though modified to hold a window and covered with a bench.  From the outside it’s still a pretty close match, the inside however is a different story.

Now housing Paulette’s Original Donuts & Chicken a lot about the inside has changed.  There are only a few feet of space to see now as a counter has been put in place to separate the customer from the kitchen (it’s probably for the best, they make amazing donuts).  What can be seen on the floor are a few marks where hair stations used to stand (Trust me, my mom is a hairdresser.  Years of playing space under the dryers have taught me a thing or two about how this stuff looks) but that’s about it.

I was going to write a bit about the food here, but I’m not a food blogger, and you probably don’t care about my opinions on the subject, so let’s just leave it at, “it’s great.”.  I will however mention that the staff here are the coolest, and totally into the idea of being a former Degrassi landmark.

If you’re going to visit: Don’t expect a wash and cut, but you can probably get someone behind the counter to gab with you.  Don’t forget to try the Sour Cream and Granola Donut, seriously. 

Season 1 Episode 10 - ‘Smokescreen’

The Colgate Factory - Rick, Caitlin and Susie deliver a petition to a major polluter.

For what it’s worth, the episode never refers to the factory by name.  Instead just calling it ‘The Factory’ throughout the episode, I suppose toothpaste manufacture probably isn’t actually a major polluter, not that I have any way to prove that as you can see above.

The Colgate factory at one point stood at the corner of Carlaw Ave and Colgate Ave in Toronto’s Riverdale Neighborhood.  The property spanned from Carlaw to Logan, which included an on site employee parking lot which the kids have to cross when delivering their petition to “Stop the Stink!”, so it was a serious operation and a pretty imposing building in the landscape.

The building was demolished some time in the 1990’s to make way for development so this post uses all of the surrounding outdoor shots to set the stage for you. 

The first image is from Verral Ave looking north at the south face of the factory.  The sequence is a discussion between Caitlin and Rick about the factory’s pollution.  Now there is a condo going up where the factory once stood, which is interesting seeing as how the land stood empty for years.

The second and third sets are from Logan Avenue, which the kids are headed southbound on.  The still standing apartment building and unchanged green and white painted ‘Woods’ sign on the left were an excellent giveaway for this shoot.  The trio pauses before crossing onto the factory property in front of 332/334 Logan Ave, which structurally hasn’t changed a lot, actually 334 might still have the same aluminum siding.  A new set of homes has been erected on the east side of Logan where the parking lot entrance would have been.

Last in the set is from a sequence involving Kathleen catching Rick outside of De Grassi Grocery smoking, and then drawing a comparison between his smoking and the factory’s pollution to have him kicked off the Degrassi Junior High Environmental Action Committee.  Kathleen’s view of the factory is a physical impossibility from the front of the shop, but for the purposes of TV, subbing in the view looking east from Booth Avenue and Colgate Avenue is pretty good.  The houses on the left haven’t changed much at all since 1986.

Ultimately these sequences would be better shot in the late fall, when the trees are bare and everything can been seen a little better.  I might update in the fall, I might leave it and just encourage you to go compare for yourself, I haven’t decided.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your patience.  The president wont be seeing you about your petition for a long time.

Season 1 Episode 10 - ‘Smokescreen’

Asian Imports - Yick buys a vase to fake his way through a class project.

In the grand scale of the series this location is pretty insignificant.  It makes only a few seconds of footage, with no interiors or significant interaction other than what’s in the stills.  However, if you’re like me, and the details and the thrill of solving the problem are what interests you, this is one of my best Season 1 finds.

After slow scrolling through a lot of Chinatown east (Gerrard and Broadview area) I gave up on this location for a while.  After a few months I was traveling down Broadview Avenue and spotted a store with a similar entryway, and began looking again.  After several runs through the scene I could spot some very important details in the neighboring buildings that still remain.

In the first still above, on the far left is a building with a pinkish granite finish next to some pink bricks.  The bricks have since been painted white, and the glass face has been bricked over, but there is a grate in front of the door on the left that hasn’t changed since the show.  After that we’re in front of 227 Broadview Avenue.  The deeply recessed door is still a major detail of the building, but the steel columns that support the window are still intact, the little faux plinths still visible in the third set of images.  Now this building no longer houses an importer of goods, instead it is a dog gym called Fit Dogs housing a dog pool inside and offering dog walking services north of the city in the Ontario wilderness for the jaded urban canine.

This is another one of those posts where I end up revealing how incredibly serious I am about the details.  Lucky for you.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your own Ming vase, or is it Manchu?  Either way, they don’t sell them here anymore.

Season 1 Episode 9 - ‘What A Night’

Cumberland Motel - Damon King drives into the parking lot with Stephanie with the worst of intentions.

The stretch of Lakeshore Boulevard west of Park Lawn Rd was, up until recently, home to a number of roadside motels.  Most of these were in need of repair, badly out of date, and sitting on land that any developer would have been willing to work for.  So it’s not really a surprise to me that there is nothing left to see but bulldozers and high-rise condos.

Figuring out the location from the show wasn’t an issue in this sequence.  The Lakeshore Motel strip is almost notorious, mostly for just being amazingly out of date, and some allegedly operating with hourly rates.  I remember passing by the row of seedy looking 1 and 2 storey buildings with failing signage when I first moved to Toronto in 1999, and have never forgotten my feeling of distrust for the operations based purely on appearance.  This is likely why the sequence was filmed here, as that same feeling floats in the background as the car approaches and  turns into the lot.

2139 Lakeshore Blvd West is the address of the Cumberland Motel, or rather, it was.  Now as you can see nothing remains of the motel, or any of the other motels on the strip for that matter.  In the place where Damon King attempted to put moves on Stephanie (It was an attempted sexual assault, there’s no denying it, I just wanted to use the phrase “put moves on”) now stands a rather tall condo development.  The only comparative photo that really works is the road, and even that is an approximation that nobody can be 100% on.  I did a little digging and found the photo in the third set on Blog.to which shows us the rounded face of the office with the same red neon MOTEL OFFICE sign.  There are also a few pages on flickr that document a lot of the strip as it was and during the demolition.  I’m sorry there isn’t anything else exciting to document, lakefront property is a hot item.


If you’re going to visit: Bring some quarters so you can call your mom to come pick you up.  The disappointment can be overwhelming.

Season 1 Episode 9 - ‘What a Night’

Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum Record Depot - Stephanie Kaye waits out front for Damon King

This location was pretty easy to spot given that the number 2491 is above the door.  The first thing I checked was 2491 Lakeshore Blvd West, which as it would turn out shares a parking lot with J & C Char-Burgers from earlier in the episode. 

While the shared lot is a good indication, I’m a stickler on details, so to go a step further the Beer Store across the street has not moved since 1986.  That glowing orange sign, while blurry, is an obvious marker to anyone who remembers the 1980’s in Ontario.  Now a cream colour with a new sign, but still selling cold beer years later.  But let’s get back to the record store.

As you can plainly see 2491 Lakeshore Blvd W no longer sells records. Now selling modern condo furniture as Modern Sensibility, a few changes have been made to the exterior.  Most notable are the numbers above the door, and the aluminum pillars.  Looking a little bit closer reveals that the pillars are only covered with another sheet of aluminum to appear flat, and you can still spot the original at the bottom.  It’s a pretty minor location, only receiving a few seconds of footage, but I did say every location, so there you go.

A special thanks to Tyler Doupe (tylerdoupe.com) for providing the original name of this business and a great pic of the store’s branded vinyl sleeve from way back.

If you’re going to visit:  Bring a walkman and your favourite tape, because that 99 cent cassette sale is definitely over.

Season 1 Episode 9 - ‘What A Night’

Edward’s Books and Art -  Stephanie, Heather and Erica go to Damon King’s book signing.

This location is something that I didn’t feel really comfortable about until I got out and shot it.  A lot of the stores between Spadina and Peter Street on Queen West were bookstores in the 70’s and 80’s, so pinning down the exact location is a little tough as no signage is really clear in the sequence.
I narrowed my search to Queen West by noticing the width of the sidewalk in the second frame above.  The distance between the buildings and the street is enormous, and fairly unusual in Toronto.  Also in the distance the Hudson’s Bay tower is clearly visible so Queen seemed like a fair estimation.

The Crocs store at 356 Queen Street West, is the only location along this stretch that has a recessed entryway, so I did a little digging on the address to find that Edwards Books and Art at one point occupied the location (found on Torontoist, thanks guys!)  With all this narrowed down there is still a matter of seeing it in person as streetview can’t provide the most complete evidence for these shots.

The front door has been moved forward a few feet since the episode, and the windows have been re-framed, but look at the granite entry, it’s exactly as it was.  Seeing this sold me on Edwards being where the book signing took place, but being the stickler for detail that I am, I always need a little bit more.  The reflection in the glass in the last frame is what really makes this.  It’s a tough thing to notice in the footage, but 423/425 Queen Street West is still there, reflected in the glass of the Crocs store.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for the details.

If you’re going to visit: You should bring your own copy of Damon King’s ‘Confessions of a Soap Star’, because the Crocs store doesn’t sell them.

Season 1 Episode 9 - ‘What a Night’

J & C Char-Burgers - Stephanie, Heather & Erica dream up romantic situations involving Damon King.

The girls are seen exiting from this establishment with no interior shots included in the episode.  They walk out across a fairly substantial parking lot without reaching the sidewalk before the cut.

J & C Char-Burgers was a seemingly endless search for me.  The building itself is very average, nothing that really stands out about it. Other than its ample parking, it pretty much looks like any plaza at any corner in the city of Toronto.  The only reason I managed to narrow it down to Mimico was the visible phone number on ‘Pizza La Torre’.  The 252 exchange was reserved for the area, but even that isn’t very helpful when you consider the search area.

This location ended up being found in a slow satellite view search that lasted about a week on and off, looking for ample parking.  When I found this spot, I spent a few hours trying to pick out the important details, mainly the electrical conduit above the signage and the apartment building to the right of the plaza.

It’s fairly plain to see that you can’t get a burger in this location anymore as the space and the one next to it have been taken over by a large laundromat dry cleaning operation.   Actually none of the business in the plaza have survived, and the door that the girls exit from is now locked as the register for the dry cleaners is on the other side.  For the purposes of this blog however it is great to see that structurally not much about this spot has changed.

If you’re going to visit: Bring your own burger.  The lady who works at the laundromat is nice, but not ‘fry you up a burger’ nice.