Although, us Torontonians are only muggles in Harry’s Potter’s eyes, we once had a Voldemort who took over the city with his “magical” stones. He could certainly be referred to as "You-Know-Who", "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named", or "the Dark Lord.” His last name even rhymes with “Lord.” The dark power ruled over the city of Toronto for some time, but The Ministry of Magic would not allow it any longer. Yes, it’s Rob Ford. Okay – so I can say his name, but if Harry Potter were a Torontonion he would also fight against the curse of Rob Ford.
So here’s what things would be like in the Harry Potter books, if Toronto became J.K. Rowling’s setting for muggles and wizards to inhabit. If Harry Potter were to live in “Hogtown" instead of Hogwarts, these are 10 places he would see along his journey as a wizard in TO.
Photo cred - @anilasunnak
1. The Whomping Willow – Willow in High Park
The Whomping Willow was a tree that had some serious trust issues, as it thrashed its branches at anybody and everybody that approached it. Although, every monster has an Achilles heel and this tree needed a tug on its roots to put it to sleep. The Whomping Willow concealed the Shrieking Shack beneath it, which was used by Lupin, the werewolf, to reside.
If Harry Potter were in TO and needed to find a Whomping Willow, it would definitely be in High Park. A willow tree rests at High Park’s banks and guards the haunted pond, and possibly a tunnel…who knows? If anyone wants to test this theory, willows eat cars…so be warned.
2. The Hog's Head – Kensington Market
The Hog’s Head has a reputation as a bit of a sketchy pub that attracts the criminal clientele. The pub is dirty, and Harry even describes it as smelling like “goats.” The pub is the home of secret meetings and secret societies, even hosting the first meeting of Dumbledore’s Army.
Kensington Market is the Hog’s Head of Toronto, with “cold tea” bars that serve the rebellious clientele. Secret meetings definitely go down in this area, and Kensington even has a few goat heads around hanging from the windows – so this could be the reason for the goat stank Harry was smelling.
3. Platform 9 3/4 – Union Station Unfinished Construction
Platform 9 ¾ is how Harry Potter discovered his entrance into the wizarding world. He used a shopping cart to baracade through the wall, without any scuffs or broken bones in the process. Muggles surrounded the platform, unaware of the world behind the brick wall.
Harry would definitely be making his trip into a magical land from Union Station in Toronto. Muggles swarm the platform, while all of the construction going on creates the perfect distraction for entering the portal. Platform 9 ¾ would be somewhere along the side of Unions walls. Just bring down a shopping cart and test your luck!
4. Hogwarts – UOfT
Hogwarts is where Harry Potter studied to receive his degree in “Witchcraft and Wizardry.” It was an extremely pimped-out castle in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of shady characters roamed the halls. Hogwarts was also split up into different “houses” including: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin of course (those evil bastards!).
So UOT is definitely the Hogwarts of Toronto. There are a bunch of hipster and bro wizards that inhabit the campus, and Harry Potter would definitely fit into the “hipster” category. I mean those glasses and the lightening bolt scar? Harry Potter’s a hipster for sure.
5. Gringotts Wizarding Bank – Toronto-Dominion Bank
Gringotts Wizarding Bank is run by a bunch of goblins on pedestals. The goblins are greedy and will do anything to protect their money. Gringotts in Toronto would definitely be the Toronto-Dominion Bank, which is the largest bank in Canada. I mean this bank is huge – and contains a magical amount of money in it. Harry Potter would be bound to find the Philosopher's Stone here.
6. Knockturn Alley – Tunnel Near York Unversity
Kockturn Alley is a dark, dangerous alley that Muggles don’t have access to. Dark Wizards are crawling in this alley, and it’s definitely the place for a smart wizard to avoid.
The tunnel discovered near York University was found in the Black Creek woods, and the tunnel was completed with plywood walls and a BBQ! This tunnel would make the perfect place for dark wizards to trade their spells and potions. Harry Potter would surely stumble into this dark situation, remaining unscathed because of his ability to dig himself out of dangerous situations.
7. Azkaban - Comfort Zone After Hours
Azkaban is where all of the most dangerous prisoners live who have violated British wizarding world law. Dementors guard the prison with their soul-sucking personalities.
In Toronto, all of the prisoners would likely be sent down to an after hours, Comfort Zone in particular. Comfort Zone is certainly a soul-sucking place, and being sentenced to a lifetime down there would be unjust. The only sunlight you see at the Zone is after leaving at 8am the next day, but these Torontonian prisoners are never leaving this dark party.
8. Zonko's Joke Shop – Kidding Awound Toys & Gifts
Zonko’s Joke Shop contained the favourite "jokes and tricks to fulfil even Fred and George Weasley's wildest dreams." The shop was filled with products such as: Sugar Quills, Frog Spawn Soup, Dungbombs, and more! All of the students would gather in the joke shop to take a break from the stresses wizarding school caused the worn-out wizards.
Kidding Awound is located on Cumberland Street in Toronto, and contains the best joke gifts for muggles and wizards alike. The store even contains classic Harry Potter treats including: Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and Jelly Slugs. They also sell disguises there, not as great as the invisibility cloak, but they'll do.
9. The Three Broomsticks – Bier Markt
The Three Broomsticks is a pub in Hogsmeade with some of the best butterbeer around. There’s even a fireplace in the pub to keep the guests warm in the cold winter months – beer in hand. The pub "is described as being warm, smoky, crowded, and noisy.”
If Harry were in Toronto, he would definitely go out with his hipster gang to the Bier Markt in Toronto to show off what a butterbeer snob he is with his impeccable taste. Voldemort was even said to have made an appearance there one night with his dark magic.
10. Ollivanders - Broom Wagon Cyclery
Ollivanders is where Harry Potter’s first wand chose him! Mr. Ollivander, the owner of the shop, even remembers every wand he sold. Boxes are piled up inside of the store containing the magic for the wizards-to-be.
The Broom Wagon Cyclery is on the Danforth, selling bikes to the the wizards of Toronto. The bikes are stacked up to the ceilings, and the right bike will choose the Torontonian who’s had enough of the TTC this summer. Biking in Toronto is an art in itself, only the brave wizards will be seen maneuvering the busy streets during rush hour.