Summer Series

Celebrity spotting in active filming locations

Thousands of fans flock to Hollywood Boulevard each year hoping to glimpse their favorite stars. But the chances of snagging an autograph or a selfie with a famous face are probably better in Toronto's Distillery District, New York's Central Park or the posh streets of London.

Many TV shows and movies are now filmed in north-of-the-border cities like Toronto, which currently doubles as New York in BBC America's "Copper," a transformed St. Louis in the sci-fi series "Defiance," modern Manhattan in "Suits" and any number of alien-ravaged East Coast towns in "Falling Skies."

Much of the filming is done in Toronto's Distillery District, named after the defunct Gooderham and Worts Distillery that once dominated the lakeside neighborhood. The area's cobblestone streets and Victorian-era buildings have served as a backdrop for more than 1,700 movies and TV shows over the past two decades. Guided walking and Segway tours of the district blend historical and showbiz lore — and there's always a chance you'll come across an active set.

Several of today's most popular TV series are shot in Europe. "Game of Thrones" has filmed in Northern Ireland, Iceland and most recently Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast. Shots for "Downton Abbey" are filmed at Highclere Castle in England's Hampshire County, though interior scenes are also shot at Ealing Studios in London.

More than 3,500 movies have been filmed in London and its environs over the past century. Among the British capital's iconic filming locations are Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background, Piccadilly Circus and Hatfield House. While on the Thames waterfront, don't miss the Palace of Westminster or the London Eye, which films and television also use as establishing shots.

You can learn about current New York City productions on the "Made in New York" website — although you will have to figure out exactly where the shooting is taking place on any given day. The same site offers free podcast walking tours of Big Apple movie and TV locations narrated by Julianna Margulies and Matthew Modine.

Scores of movies and TV episodes have been shot in Central Park. And it's not unusual to encounter actors jogging, walking or skating in the park. Many of them live in the posh apartments on either side of the renowned urban green space.

-By Joe Yogerst, Brand Publishing Writer

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