The Toronto Umbrella Academy

Fans of The Umbrella Academy (viewable on Netflix) can visit several of the sets in Toronto.

Image from Netflix

As I’m not familiar with this show, I’m going to link you to an article that has more information than I know what to do with. You can find the Narcity article here.

Interested in doing an Umbrella Academy tour while visiting Toronto?

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Gold Rush Canada

Who shot the boss? is the question that Gold Rush Canada asked several thousand contestants before releasing them to search for the $80,000 dollars buried somewhere in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday July 27th 2019 at 9 am. Armed only with a special map, a video from the website, and smart phones, everyone headed for where they thought the first clue was hidden.

Image from goldrushcanada.com.

Now, days later, most people (if not all) are stuck on the third challenge of ten. Based on the comments on the Facebook page, people are getting very frustrated. (As of July 30th when this post was written.)

Nobody said that it would be easy.

So why am I talking about an event that is currently ongoing?

Because Ottawa is only the first city of six.

On August 10, Edmonton starts. August 17 is Calgary and Montreal, and August 24th Toronto and Vancouver.

Due to Ottawa’s event taking longer than expected, they have rearranged the dates for the other cities.

Montreal is August 24, Vancouver is August 31, Calgary is September 7, Edmonton is September 14, and Toronto is September 21.

Are you ready to reserve your map, solve the mystery, and find the treasure?

Knowledge of Escape Rooms is definitely an advantage.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Shazam film locations

Like the majority of superhero fans, I recently saw Shazam.

By recently, I mean last night.

And then I dreamt about it all night.

There are two ways I could re-live the movie: go see it again (tempted…) or go visit the film locations.

Fortunately, Shazam was mostly filmed in Canada – and not on the West Coast (which is always a beautiful spot to film for outdoorsy shots, but VERY far away).

That’s right, Shazam was filmed mostly in Toronto and Hamilton, with the major shots of the city skyline shot in Philadelphia.

The robbery in a convenience store was recorded in a Busy Bee Food Mart at 524 Barton St E in Hamilton. Image from www.atlasofwonders.com.

This article says that Shazam is set in Fawcett City, but either the author got that information from the comics or the movie changed its mind, because it is actually set in Philadelphia (for the most part). Other than that, the article has a great list of the film locations and when they were used in the movie.

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think?

If you wish to visit the film locations in Shazam and need travel assistance, you know where to find me!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

It – Canadian film locations

As I was looking for something to write about this week, I decided to type “new film locations” into Google and see what popped up. And, well, this was kinda interesting.

The movie ‘It’ premiered in 2017, and although it is set in Derry, Maine (based off of Bangor, Maine), filming did not take place there. Instead, they filmed in Toronto’s Riverdale area (mostly at the Cranfield House at 450 Pape Ave), and Oshawa and Port Hope for exterior shots.

The film crew setting up a location in Port Hope. Image from inquisitr.com.

The facade of the house. Built in Oshawa. Torn down after filming ended. Image from onset-hollywood.com.

I can’t imagine how I would feel walking around in the same locations as a horror movie…and I have friends in that area!

However, if YOU are interested in following in Pennywise’s footsteps, here are the filming locations: ‘It’ filming locations


Are you interested in touring Ontario? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Black Panther Experience

If you’re downtown at Winterlude this weekend, be sure to check out The Black Panther Experience in Confederation park! You can get your photo taken with Black Panther, see the inside of a vibranium mine, and check out the Wall of Heroes.

If you’re in Toronto later on this month, the truck will be there as well. Check out the dates:

Image from the Facebook post.


Are you interested in a stay-cation or visiting Toronto? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Attractions Ontario

Do you live in or near Ontario, Canada? Do you want to see some of the amazing attractions that it has to offer? Don’t pay full price! There are tons of discounts available, and here’s a link to a whole bunch!

Attractions Ontario logo from their website
Attractions Ontario logo from their website

There are a few that I will be taking advantage of this summer, and while most of the coupons are for attractions in Toronto, there are a couple of hidden gems!


Are you interested in travelling in Ontario? I can book your car rental, train tickets, and accommodations! You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Harry Potter Orchestra

If you live near Montreal or Toronto, love Harry Potter, and love live music, then you’ll probably want to know about these fantastic opportunities.

Montreal is playing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the big screen, with live accompaniment on April 8 and 9, 2017. You can read about it and get tickets here.

Toronto is doing the same thing, with Philosopher’s Stone on June 27, 2017, and Chamber of Secrets on October 12, 2017. You can read about it and get tickets here.

Image from a completely different article on cbc.ca
Image from a completely different article on cbc.ca

If you don’t live close enough to these cities to make the trip in one day, I know some great hotels in both cities that I can book for you. I can book transportation, whether train, car rental, or flight, as well!


If you are interested in booking a trip to Montreal or Toronto. You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Seattle, Portland, and everything in between

It takes just under three hours to drive between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, but I decided to combine that area together, because I am Canadian, and that’s short – it’s longer than that from Ottawa to Toronto!

Seattle, WA

There are a lot of geeky things to do and see in Seattle! The EMP Museum should be top of your list, though, and there’s an exhibit going on right now (it will be closed Oct 5 – 16) that I would love to see: Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic. There are numerous authors, film makers, and others who have been inducted into their Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The museum itself is, to quote directly, “…a leading-edge nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture.” Tickets are approximately $22/adult (prices may change).

From my research, there are many bars and shops that have pin ball games, arcade games, table top board games, and/or card games available to play while you drink a pint. Here is a list of some places you can check out, and here is a list of more! I do have to warn you: the AFK Tavern is located in Everett, thirty minutes North of Seattle. The reviews vary between 3 to 4.5 stars out of 5. Food can get expensive, but they have drinks like Polyjuice Potion…I mean, come on!

Lastly, I want to talk to you about the views you can see from some of the tallest buildings in Seattle. There are two options: The Space Needle and The Sky View Observatory. They each have their pros and cons. The Space Needle is a two minute walk from the EMP Museum, so it would be easy to see both in one day. However, The Sky View Observatory, which is located in the Columbia Center, is a short nine minute drive away, so it’s not unreasonable to visit it either. They are approximately equal in price (around $13-15/adult), and they both have a restaurant on the observation deck. The Sky View Observatory has two pros that The Space Needle does not. One, you can take a picture of The Space Needle, and two, it is much higher: soaring at 902 feet compared to 520 feet. Either way, you are in for a spectacular view!

St Helen’s, OR

St Helen's in Oregon dedicates October to Halloweentown. Image from their Facebook page.
St Helen’s in Oregon dedicates October to Halloweentown. Image from their Facebook page.

Did you know that Halloweentown was filmed in St Helen’s, Oregon? I didn’t, until a Facebook post popped up a couple of months ago, and I found out that the entire month of October is dedicated to Halloweentown in this city. How incredibly cool is that?

Portland, OR

There is a pretty awesome arcade that becomes a bar after five pm: Ground Kontrol. They have their own version of Geeks Who Drink! Super fun game.

There are some great bookstores and comic book shops in the Portland area, which are always fun to check out!

The Portland Geek Community is also super organized when it comes to their online community. They have a website for all the events that go on in the city, and a Geek Council!

There are tons of events that happen throughout the year that are rather…unique…in Portland. So if you find yourself in the Northwest, check out the possible events that could be happening in the area!

There is so much to do and see in the Seattle/Portland area! If you are interested in going, contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca