With the ever increasing number of networks, online streaming services and more putting out quality TV series nowadays, it’s easy to lose track of where all of this television is coming from. One of the major networks’ big secrets in recent years has been the number of TV series that actually hail from the Great White North.
While many series have been moving to filming in Canada because it’s cheaper than Los Angeles or NYC, others have always been based in Canada, casting primarily Canadian actors and using a Canadian crew. Here are 15 TV Shows You Didn’t Know Were Canadian.
ReBoot, the 1994 CGI series following central character Bob as he defends his animated computer world, the Mainframe, has developed a cult following since it went off the air in 2001. The series, which was initially produced in Vancouver and aired on the Canadian network YTV, has had numerous homes on U.S. television, starting with its first two seasons airing on ABC. After Disney bought ABC, they stopped airing the series, so viewers had to wait a few years before Cartoon Network picked it up to watch the last two seasons. Rainmaker Entertainment, Inc., a Vancouver-based company, recently agreed to make new episodes of ReBoot twelve years after its cancellation, ordering a 26-episode season called ReBoot: The Guardian Code.
The famed sketch show SCTV, or Second City Television, launched the career of many well-known comedy actors, including John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Martin Short and more. The show, which depicted the programming on a fictitious TV network, gained widespread fame during its eight year run. However, many people don’t know that the entire series was started by members of Toronto’s Second City improvisational troupe and was filmed in various parts of Canada, even earning a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.
Although Flashpoint is set in Toronto, many viewers may not realize that the police procedural is actually filmed in the city as well. The series, which was initially filmed for Canada’s CTV, was imported to the U.S. to start its run on CBS during the 2007-2008 Writer’s Guild of America strike. The show was the first Canadian program to be sold to a U.S. network during the strike. The series continued to air in the U.S. on CBS through its first three seasons before moving to ION Television for its fourth and upcoming fifth and final season.
12. Kids in the Hall
Sketch show Kids in the Hall followed comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson through their zany and often ridiculous adventures. The show was filmed in Canada, with all of its stars hailing from various areas of the country. The series simultaneously aired on Canadian network CBC Television and HBO in the United States for its first three seasons, before moving to CBS in the U.S. for the last two seasons. There were some episodes that were edited differently for the audiences in the two countries, with many sketches involving religion being shortened or removed for audiences in the U.S.
11. Queer as Folk
Queer as Folk was one of the most progressive shows of its time, with the 2000 series being one of the first on TV to show the day to day lives of LGBT men and women. Many viewers may assume that because the series was set in Pittsburgh it was filmed in Pennsylvania, but this is actually untrue. Most of the series was actually filmed in Toronto and other parts of Ontario, and a few of the main cast members, including Thea Gill (Lindsay Peterson), Chris Potter (David Cameron) and Jack Wetherall (Vic Grassi), were born in Canada. However, the series, which was ordered as a joint venture between Showtime and Canadian network Showcase, also cast many American actors as leads.
10. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The classic 90’s horror anthology Are You Afraid of the Dark? was created by Americans D.J. MacHale and Ned Kandel; however, due to a deal with Canadian company Cinar, the show was filmed entirely in Quebec, Canada. All of the show’s signature campfire scenes were shot inside in a studio in Quebec, with the forest only built once every season and then all of the scenes being filmed at once. The series, which featured guest appearances from the likes of Ryan Gosling, Neve Campbell and Hayden Christensen, aired on YTV in Canada and Nickelodeon in the US for all seven of its seasons.
9. Degrassi: The Next Generation
Degrassi has become a teen institution over its many years on television. The series is the fourth in the Degrassi franchise, building off of classic series The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. After airing fourteen seasons on various Canadian and American networks, the show was cancelled and revived on Netflix as Degrassi: Next Class. The show is set and filmed in Toronto, and has helped to launch many Canadian stars in the U.S., including Drake, Nina Dobrev and Shenae Grimes. Like many Canadian-based shows that also air in the U.S., certain episodes, including the episode where Manny gets an abortion, were either delayed or never aired in the United States.
8. Being Human
Although many fans consider Syfy’s Being Human to be the U.S. version of a U.K. show, it was actually produced and filmed in Montreal, Canada.Although the series is set in Boston, the central house featured in the show in which Aidan, Josh and Sally live is actually located in downtown Montreal, near McGill University. Series stars Samuel Witwer (Aidan) and Sam Huntington (Josh) hail from the United States, but Meaghan Rath (Sally) and Kristen Hager (Nora) are from Montreal and Ontario, respectively. The series was cancelled in 2014 after airing four seasons.
The long-running children’s cartoon about the adventures of Arthur the aardvark is popular in many countries, but it actually originated in Canada. The series was initially produced by Canadian company Cinar and was moved to the Cookie Jar Group after they bought the company, even though series creator (and author of the books on which the series is based) Marc Brown hails from Pennsylvania. Although the series is written by Boston based WGBH, all of the voice recordings and animation are done in Toronto and Montreal, with most of the main voice cast for the series residing in those cities.
6. Rookie Blue
Police procedural Rookie Blue isn’t just set in Toronto; the series is also filmed in the Canadian metropolis. Many of the series stars, including Missy Peregrym (Andy McNally), Travis Milne (Chris Diaz), Charlotte Sullivan (Gail Peck),Priscilla Faia (Chloe Price), Peter Mooney (Nick Collins), Enuka Okuma (Traci Nash) and Gregory Smith (Dov Epstein), were born and raised in the Great White North as well. The series was initially ordered by Canadian network Global, with ABC holding the rights to air it in the United States and NBC Universal holding the rights to air the series in most of the rest of the world.
5. Stargate Atlantis
The sci-fi series was filmed entirely in Vancouver. Following Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and his crew as they explore the Pegasus Galaxy, the series also starred many Canadian actors, including Torri Higginson (Elizabeth Weir), Jewel Staite (Jennifer Keller), Rainbow Sun Francks (Aiden Ford), Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter), David Hewlett (Rodney McKay) and Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan). Similarly, the series that Atlantis is based on, Stargate SG-1, was also filmed in Vancouver and featured many Canadian stars, including Tapping, Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson), Don S. Davis (George Hammond), Gary Jones (Walter Harriman), Teryl Rothery (Janet Fraiser) and Dan Shea (Sgt. Siler).
4. Trailer Park Boys
Trailer Park Boys takes placed in the aptly named Sunnyvale Trailer Park, located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Fittingly, the series is filmed in Nova Scotia as well, with the first few seasons being filmed on location in various trailer parks throughout the region and the latter being filmed in a purchased space in Dartmouth. The series initially aired for seven seasons on Canadian network Showcase, before taking a hiatus and returning for three more seasons (so far) on Netflix. Because of this hiatus and the change in networks, the eighth season onwards has been moved to shooting in Truro, Nova Scotia.
3. Lost Girl
Lost Girl initially premiered on Canadian network Showcase before being picked up by Syfy to air in the United States. The series, which features a bisexual heroine, was financed by executive producer Jay Firestone’s company Prodigy. According to Firestone, “no American network would have produced the show,” leading to the show’s Toronto home. Most of the show’s main and recurring cast members hail from various parts of Canada, including Anna Silk (Bo), Kris Holden-Reid (Dyson) and Rick Howland (Trick). Ksenia Solo (Kenzi) was born in the Soviet Union but moved to Canada at age five, while Zoie Palmer (Lauren) was born in England but moved to Canada at age nine.
2. Orphan Black
Critically acclaimed sci-fi series Orphan Black (which can also accurately be described as the Tatiana Maslany acting showcase) is filmed in Toronto as a co-production between Canadian network Space and BBC America. Although there are references in the series to different areas of Toronto, including Toronto IDs and license plates, creator Graeme Mason has said that the series location is meant to be “Generica,” without referencing a specific setting or location. Maslany, who plays most of the series’ leads, grew up in Toronto, and she is joined in the cast by fellow Canadians Jordan Gavaris (Felix), Dylan Bruce (Paul), Kevin Hanchard (Art), Evelyne Brochu (Delphine), Kristian Bruun (Donnie) and Ari Millen (the Castor clones).
Although Vikings is set in England and filmed in Ireland, its initial origins were in Canada. The series, which airs on the History Channel in the U.S. and Canada, was developed by Canada’s Octagon Films and Take 5 Productions. Although the series has cast many actors native to its main filming location of Ashford, Ireland, it has also employed a number of Canadian stars, including Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Jessalyn Gilsig (Siggy), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn), Donal Logue (King Horik) and Lothaire Bluteau (Emperor Charles). The series has also, according to iMDB, occasionally filmed scenes in Searchmont and Prince, both in Ontario.
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