So This is Where ‘It’ was Filmed and… It’s Really Cute?

(Child actor riding down Walton St. on bike)

If you’re someone like me with an unnatural obsession with the horror genre, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about the 1986 novel ‘It’ by horror legend, Stephen King. While the first movie adaptation was released in 1990, Pennywise returned with a vengeance in 2017 to terrorize the children of Derry (and theatre goers).

So between the murderous clowns and the mullet-wearing bullies, you probably haven’t added Derry, Maine to your list of places to visit. Well it’s time to reconsider, because Derry (if you don’t already know) is completely fictional and the town they filmed the movie in is completely real, and REALLY cute! With filming currently underway for the second installment of ‘It’, set to be released in 2019, let’s take a minute to talk about Port Hope, Ontario and why you NEED to check it out

(Aerial view of Port Hope as Derry) 

Port Hope is situated on Lake Ontario about 4 hours West of Ottawa, and with a population of approximately 16,000 residents, it’s a remarkably quaint and quiet town. First established as a township in 1834, Port Hope boasts breathtaking Victorian era architecture. In fact, it’s downtown is widely acclaimed as the best preserved streetscape in Ontario! See that aerial shot of Derry? Yeah, that’s Port Hope’s actual down town core.

(View of Walton St.)

So, what is there to do once you get there? Despite its small size, Port Hope is brimming with unique attractions, local shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Make sure to stop for lunch at Olympus Burger, made famous after being featured on the Food Network show, ‘You Gotta Eat Here’. Then maybe walk up Walton street and hit up the local shops such as Faun Boutique and Kenneth Bell Jewelry. Grab a cloud 9 latte at Queenies Bake Shop and a crazy cookie from Dreamers’ Café before checking out the local art scene at Inuit Fine Art and the Art Gallery of Northumberland. End your day by getting dinner at The Waddell and catching a performance at the Capital Theatre.

(Capital Theatre)

Looking for things to do outside of the down town area? Make sure to check out the Port Hope east beach and waterfront trail, or go hiking around the Ganaraska forest. If you’re up for a drive, you can enjoy the beautiful Garden Hill countryside and check out Richardson’s Lookout (particularly stunning on a clear Autumn day).

(The river)

While 'It' and its upcoming sequel ‘Largo’ are by far the most well-known movies to have been filmed in Port Hope, the town is a surprisingly popular filming location. Port Hope has also been the backdrop for TV shows such as ‘Falling Water’, ‘Star Falls’, and every Canadian grandma’s favourite, ‘Murdoch Mysteries’! While this quiet town is no stranger to the small screen, the 'It' movie franchise has stirred up a ton of excitement among locals who are welcoming big name stars such as Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Skarsgard.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about the real Derry and why it’s the perfect day trip for any horror movie fanatic! Happy Halloween, and make sure to avoid the sewers.

(Georgie outside Queenies)