The new It films look incredibly stunning and capture the essence of Stephen King’s fictitious town of Derry, Maine, perfectly. There’s no doubt that achieving the ideal look for the movies was a difficult task, but the filmmakers truly knocked it out of the park by turning a small town in Canada into a picturesque location.
The majority of both parts were filmed in Port Hope, Ontario, with select scenes being shot in Toronto and other spots throughout the Greater Toronto area. While big movie sets and celebrities are pretty normal to most Toronto residents, It has been a huge shakeup for Port Hope and has surely been an exciting thing for many residents of the area.
Port Hope’s marketing and tourism manager Kevin Narraway told Global News the residents enjoyed being a part of the film and expected over $1 million to be made for the municipality during filming.
“I keep saying to people, ‘Enjoy it: The circus has come to town,’” Narraway said. “It’s a bit of make believe right now, and it’s not costing us anything. There is no new infrastructure we have to build. There’s not [fire] hydrants or services or electricity we need to run.”
With the second part of the movie arriving soon, we wanted to break down some of the locations used throughout both films. Take a look below for some history on the spots you can visit from the It movies.
1. The sewer grate
The most recognizable scene in any version of It is the opening sequence where Georgie gets his arm torn off by Pennywise. It’s the introduction to viewers who are about to experience what’s easily one of the most terrifying scenes to show It, even if it comes quickly.
The sewer grate where this scene goes down is located in the Weston area of Toronto, just a short drive from the downtown core to the Northern suburbs in York. It was filmed near Springmount Avenue and William Street with the grate being custom-built into the street specifically for that scene.
2. The Paul Bunyan statue
After the adult Losers’ Club return to Derry, they each individually walk through the town and have their own experiences being revisited by It. If the new film follows how the book goes, Richie Tozier will come face to face with a massive Paul Bunyan statue attempting to murder him. Based on the scenes in the trailer, we’re guaranteed someone will face the Bunyan statue, though they could change it up.
The massive prop piece was hauled into Port Hope’s Memorial Park, a staple of the little town. The park often hosts free movie nights and has an outdoor stage for concerts, including free shows every Thursday during the summer. You can see the stage setup for those shows in the background of some shots too.
3. The school
The school appears in a few different scenes throughout the film, but it wasn’t filmed at a real school. The filmmakers redesigned the Mount Mary Retreat Centre in Ancaster near Hamilton to look like Derry High School. The convent was originally built as Wynnstay Estate in 1925 on a 100-acre farming property and was later purchased by a Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Congregation. A private school was eventually built but closed in the mid-’70s. Today it’s used for religious retreats and, of course, the filming of It.
4. The library
Within the adult Losers’ Club, Ben’s the one who spends the most time at the library in Derry, and it’s well guaranteed they’ll be back there again in the second film. The library’s look actually comes from a few separate locations spread apart from each other.
The exterior is Port Hope’s Town Hall with a new sign placed on the front lawn. Once inside, though, all of the clips are filmed at locations in Toronto. The upstairs library shots are done at Wycliffe College located in the center of the University of Toronto’s campus. The scene in the first It film where Ben ventures into the archives and is chased by Pennywise was shot at the West Toronto Masonic Temple.
5. The Barrens
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The kids spend most of their time hanging out in the Barrens and finish forming the Losers’ Club during the rockfight down there. While the woodsy area looks like it could be ripped out of any small town, it’s actually located at Rouge Park in Toronto suburb Scarborough and touches into Markham and Pickering.
The majority of the scenes in the Barrens were shot down there. But, there’s an extended scene with the group jumping off a cliff into water at a quarry. The filmmakers took the set out of Rouge Park for this part and headed to nearby Elora. Specifically, the Elora Gorge, a popular local tourist attraction in the conservation area.
6. 29 Neibolt St.
Pennywise’s house was built from scratch just for the movies in nearby Oshawa. Even during the day, the house has an eerie look and brought tons of attraction to the area. Much like the Derry Library, though, multiple locations were used to pull together the shots completed at the house.
The interior was actually filmed at 450 Pape Ave. in Toronto where the historic Cranfield House is located. The massive mansion acted as a social aid center for decades before being abandoned and later used for films. While most people were excited about the filming of It happening there, local residents were not too happy and filed numerous noise complaints, even staging a protest against the set.
7. Kenduskeag Stream
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The Ganaraska River flowing through the cutest little town!! Port Hope has so much charm, I can’t wait to visit again!! #porthope #ontarioadventurefamily #ganaraskariver #intown #exploreontario #alwaysmoving #neverstill #livelifeoutside #ontariolife #ontarioliving #ontariotowns #explore
A notable spot that comes up in a number of Stephen King works is the Kenduskeag Stream, and while it pops up in many scenes, the real creek doesn’t show up in the It movies. Instead of the sprawling Maine stream making an appearance, Port Hope’s Ganaraska River plays the part. The river flows into the nearby harbor which eventually leads into Lake Ontario.
8. The sewers
The dark, grimy sewers where the kids battle Pennywise is also near Lake Ontario with the set being built at Pinewood Studios. Pinewood is the largest film and TV complex in all of Canada located right in Toronto, hosting numerous famous movies over the years.
The building was made in the mid-2000s and since then has seen everything from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World to Pacific Rim to Suicide Squad. The sewer scenes in the first It film were crucial to the story’s development and will no doubt be a huge component of the forthcoming film as well.
9. The bridge
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Kissing bridge ❤️ Have you ever walk around your own city or region as if you were a tourist? It’s fun!!! 🇨🇦❤️ Waterloo Region Beautiful West Montrose Covered Bridge The last wooden covered bridge in Ontario and the oldest such a bridge in Canada. Built in 1800/1801. . . .#kissingbridge #waterloo #waterlooregion #bridge #woodenbridge #canada #ontario #ontarioturism #discoverontario #travelideas #travelonmymind #vacationmode #vacation #mydiary #traveldiary #yourcity #mycity #holiday #beautifulcanada #beautifulplace #photo #instaphoto
In Chapter One, Ben gets bullied by Henry Bowers and his gang, eventually getting cut with a knife and chased through the Barrens after falling off the backing near a bridge. That bridge is actually far away from the majority of the other filming locations, residing near Waterloo in West Montrose.
Distinctly along the Grand River, also known as the Kissing Bridge, it’s not only the last remaining wooden-covered bridge in Ontario, but it’s also the oldest bridge of its kind in Canada. It also makes an appearance in the ’90s horror film In The Mouth Of Madness.
10. Henry Bowers’ home
That awfully terrifying scene where Henry slits his dad’s throat after Pennywise tells him to through his TV may not make you want to visit the location, but it really is a beautiful spot. The little white farmhouse is located in the Whitevale area of Pickering. There isn’t much around to look at, but visiting the house would be an easy day trip. Fans of Hannibal may also recognize the residence as Will Graham’s home in the show.
Which filming location in It would you want to visit the most? Let us know in the comments below.