There’s been a murder in the Don Valley. But don’t worry, it’s 1895 and Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Police Constabulary is on the case. Fans around the world are following Murdoch Mysteries in its fourth season of forensic sleuthing in the Age of Invention. Dubbed ‘Sherlock Holmes meets CSI’, the series is based on the novels of Toronto author Maureen Jennings. There’s mischief afoot for season five which starts filming this week in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Cambridge.
A man ahead of his day, Murdoch is played by Yannick Bisson who says the show “features a very terrific character called the City of Toronto and in a really great time, the Victorian era.” The fictional detective lives on Ontario Street and solves crimes out of old 4 Division (Dundas and Parliament) which opened in 1876 and policed all the way out to the eastern city limits at Woodbine Avenue.
With so many police dramas ‘shooting’ here this summer, you may stumble onto a ‘crime scene’. Back in May 1974, Ward 9 Community News reported on “Murder and mystery in station 55”. The horror movie Black Christmas was filming at the recently closed police station before it became Community Centre 55.
“On the first day of shooting, a local resident entered the station with a real summons and the money to pay for it. As the station was set up like a real, working police station, there was no way he could tell he was in the wrong place.”
On June 18, Centre 55 held a wonderful l00th anniversary party with some beautiful, old vehicles and costumes. Constable John Little of 55 Division posed for photos in a circa 1900 uniform in front of a police patrol wagon on loan from Lionel’s Pony Farm of Stouffville. The wagon was ‘period rebuilt’ for use in the 1999 film Vendetta. Lionel’s carriages have appeared in many movies and television productions, such as Anne of Green Gables. The Centre 55 building can also be seen in Torso (2002) and Cold Creek Farm (2003).
You can see some of the Murdoch costumes and props on display at 51 Division on Parliament Street (at Front). Or you can take an interactive crime scene challenge at www.murdochmysteries.com.
To see the photo that inspired the character of William Murdoch, check out www.maureenjennings.com.
Next month I’ll tell you about some of the Beach actors/suspects involved in Murdoch Mysteries.