Scott Pilgrim and Toronto go together like pizza and beer, or soda pop if you’re inclined to take the moral high ground. Although author Bryan Lee O’Malley only lived in Toronto for three years, his time there laid the foundation and inspiration for the Scott Pilgrim series. In a 2006 interview with the Torontoist, Bryan revealed that he, like Scott, had a gay roommate, an American girlfriend, and was indeed in a band. Even the title character and series’ name was inspired by Canadian power pop band Plumtree’s song, “Scott Pilgrim.”
Amidst the fantasy and video game-inspired comics action, there are also a number of real life places sprinkled throughout the series, which can be found in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Toronto. Whether you’re a diehard fan of the comics or just enjoyed the 2010 film adaptation with Michael Cera, it may interest you to know that you can actually visit some of Scott and his friends’ hangouts. In the spirit of Scott’s simple-minded slackerdom, we’ve made an easy to follow travel guide so you can take your very own Scott Pilgrim-age on your next visit to T-dot.
Pizza Pizza is basically an institution in the Ontario area with over twenty stores amid Downtown Toronto. It first appears in Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life after Scott picks up Knives from school. Although they don’t actually go inside, and you don’t see the name of the restaurant, Knives is seen holding a piece of pizza. It’s later revealed as Pizza Pizza in Vol. 3 when Scott and Ramona go there after The Clash at Demonhead show.
If you want to recreate Scott and Ramona’s first date, head on over to the Baldwin Steps. Basically a large public staircase, the steps are named after previous landowners of the area and are said to mark the ancient shoreline of Lake Iroquois. We see the steps again in Vol. 2 when Lucas Lee and Scott are about to fight. Scott asks Lucas to show him a trick, which causes him to go so fast he basically explodes into nothing, securing Scott’s victory.
A local coffee chain, Second Cup is shown a bunch of times, especially in the early volumes. In Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Ramona visits the St Clair location (now closed) of Second Cup where Stacey and Julie work. Later in the story, Scott comes in to talk to his sister, Stacey, only to find Julie there. There’s also a gag in the series about how Scott thinks that all Second Cups locations lead to the same interior where his sister works, which is revealed when he is confused to find Knives Chau working there.
Toronto’s castle-like residence turned museum, Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s most famous landmarks. It’s frequently used as a filming location, due to its grand appearance, even in the Scott Pilgrim series. Casa Loma is where Scott has to fight Ramona’s second evil ex, Lucas Lee, who is filming his new movie there.
Lee’s Palace is a music venue and staple in Toronto’s indie rock scene. Ramona, Scott, and the rest of Sex Bob-omb go to see Envy Adam’s band, The Clash at Demonhead, play there. While at Lee’s Palace, Scott finds out Envy’s current boyfriend and bandmate, Todd Ingram, is also Ramona’s third evil ex-boyfriend. The next night, Sex Bob-omb opens for Envy’s band and Scott is finally able to defeat Todd after he’s de-veganized by the Vegan Police
Described by Julie as an experience equal to “a newborn baby crying at the sheer horror of being alive,” Honest Ed’s is where Scott tries to first fight Todd. Due to the chaotic nature of the wacky discount store, both Todd and Scott struggle to make it through the store, searching for items to make weapons and protect their eyes from the visual assault. Eventually, Todd implodes the store with his psychic powers due to sensory overload.
Described as a “late night tex-mexy bar,” Sneaky Dee’s becomes Scott Pilgrim and the gang’s regular hangout during Vol. 4 when Lisa Miller is in town. Sex Bob-omb is also supposed to play a show there in Vol. 5., but Scott is instead attacked by Ramona’s fifth and sixth evil exes, the twins Kyle & Ken Katayangi.
Check out all the locations mentioned here on the map below.
Have you visited any of these real-life Scott Pilgrim locations before or intend on making a Scott Pilgrim-age the next time you’re in Toronto? Let us know in the comments!
All Comics Image Credits: Oni Press