Stephen King's IT Filming Locations in Ontario

port hope

I'm a bit of an oversharer, it's an occupational hazard of being a blogger, but something I don't think I've shared much is how much of a movie buff I am!
*Remember this door from the 2017 version of Stephen King's IT? It's the moment that young Mike sees the things he is truly scared of*

I totally blame this on being born in the greatest movie decade, the 80's. Movies in this era were huge. We had the brat pack who starred in almost every movie from '80-'89 and John Hughes captured the life of a teenager better than anyone before or after. But my love of movies didn't stop there, I went into the past and watched every movie on a top 100 list, movies my parents grew up on, movies my teachers recommended. That never went away as I still go out to the theatre every time a major blockbuster or buzz worthy indie movie is released.

One movie that always stuck out to me was a tv mini-series in 1990, Stephen King's IT. That book and series was scary with a capital S. So much so that when the first teaser trailer for last summer's remake was released, I watched it on my phone, held far away from myself with my free hand over my eyes. I was really excited and slightly scared when IT was released in the theatre last September. Scared because on the way into the theatre on opening day there was a car in the parking lot with a red balloon in the driver's seat that said "You'll float too". It doesn't get any creepier than that!

All this to tell you that one of the things I love doing when travelling is visiting filming locations! It's a lot of fun to see places in real life that you see on the big screen and lucky for me IT was filmed in a few locations around me. Last weekend AMH needed to pick up a car part for our vintage 1970 Mercury Montego in Oshawa, just an hour outside of Toronto. We were finished with that visit in about a half hour and I had heard that some of the filming for IT was done in Port Hope, Ontario, the next town over. We decided to see what we could see and to grab a little lunch.

During filming Port Hope was transformed into Derry, Maine in the late 80's. Interestingly enough, there wasn't a lot of movie magic at play here. There have been times that I've visited a filming location only to be disappointed as it was heavily CGI'd and didn't resemble the physical location. Lucky for me, that wasn't a problem here!

ontario

I found only a few small differences, one was the outside wall (above, left) on Smith's Creeks Antiques. In the movie the middle windows are gone and are replaced with a large painting saying Derry, Maine as seen in the photo below

movie locations

The other was the wall beside the butcher's door. In the movie version there is a brick painting

movie

In real life, there is just a blank wall

movie locations

This door is attached to a shoe store (Gould's Footwear at 26 Walton St) so it looks like this "Quality Meats" sign was painted on for the movie. If you Google image 25 Brogdens Lane you can see the blank wall and sign missing from this door. The last updated image was in 2004.

port hope

The Capitol Theatre is advertising a Beach Boys tribute band concert, where in the movie it was Batman and Lethal Weapon 2.

port hope

This is the back view of Port Hope's town hall, which doubled as the Derry, Maine library. Just to the left in the park is the bandstand that in the movie was all decorated in red, white and blue balloons and flags. By this time in the day the wind was biting and instead of snapping a picture I elected to stay with the heated seats of my car.

The town of Port Hope has a lot to offer besides just the filming locations for IT. There are a lot of shops on their main street, we ducked into a number of antique shops and picked up a few treasures for our house. We had a tasty lunch at Turtle John's and bought some hand crafted chocolates from Mercury Chocolates to have as a snack while watching IT at home later that evening.

My plan is to return during the summer when it's warm enough to check out to the whole town with running and hiding in my car. Another reason to visit is The Big Apple shop is only 25 minutes away in nearby Colborne. It's a favourite stopping point on Highway 401, their apple bread is to die for! I always buy a few loaves and freeze them at home, although we do go through them pretty fast!

I will leave you with these last few images from a key moment in the movie that isn't in Port Hope, but rather in my home region of Waterloo

movie locations

Image my surprise to visit the Kissing Bridge in West Montrose the weekend after IT's release to see a red balloon there! 

kissing bridge

waterloo

If you remember this scene where poor Ben gets picked on, you'll see that they start out in front of Port Hope's Town Hall aka the Derry Library and end up here at the Kissing Bridge in West Montrose, almost 2 1/2 hours away! A little Hollywood magic! I do like that in the movie they make reference to this bridge being called the Kissing Bridge, which is it's actual name. It's kind of neat that they left that in. One difference you'll see is the railing in the movie is white and had carved names in it but in real life there are no names and it's just plain old wood. 

This bridge has been a popular photo backdrop for locals of Kitchener Waterloo for years (I visited in 2015 and again in 2017) if you search the hashtags #Westmontrosekissingbridge or #kissingbridge you're sure to see some wedding photos, family photos and travellers selfies. You can see in one of the above photos there are Private Property signs all along the water or best known as the best places to take photos. 

There is even one sign that directs you to call a local homeowner to book the property for filming and photography. The local rumor is that homeowners in this area are unhappy with the amount of people that showed up last fall to take photos. As with all rumors, I can't verify if that is true or not but there is a parking lot a stone's throw from the bridge specifically for travellers interested in the last covered bridge in all of Ontario.

 I can tell you from personal experience, we've only ever encountered the nicest people. We are always trying to get photos of our vintage car driving through and we've not had any issues. That being said, we are respectful of the area, we don't create traffic jams on the bridge and we would never hop any private property signs. My advice if you'd like to visit this local landmark, possibly with a red balloon, is just be smart and respectful. There are a few local businesses here as well as people's homes. Take your photos and move on and you'll be just fine. 

A fun little afternoon out checking out some of the filming locations for the newest version of Stephen King's IT. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if they film here again for IT Chapter 2.

The town of Port Hope has made this handy walking tour map of the IT filming locations (clicking the link will open a download option for the PDF)

If you're interested in more about the filming locations for Stephen King's IT you can check out these online guides; Northhumberland News, Toronto Life, Atlas of Wonders, Durham Region

No comments

Post a Comment