While the series is set on De Grassi Street, only the original series film primarily filmed on the street. Most of the series since then have used a mix of other locations and studios for their filming locations.
The Kids of Degrassi Street
The Kids of Degrassi Street started in 1979 as an annual after-school TV special on CBC. In 1982, it was made into a series, which ran until 1986. This series was the only series to regularly use De Grassi Street and the surrounding neighbourhood for filming. In addition to some of the houses, the De Grassi Corner Shop was also often seen in the series.
Degrassi Junior High
In 1987, the series returned with the debut of Degrassi Junior High. This series still used the Degrassi setting, but featured primarily new characters as they navigate life as students Degrassi Junior High School. This series filmed primarily at Vincent Massey Public School in Etobicoke. They still filmed the occasional location around De Grassi Street, including the above mentioned Degrassi Corner Shop. They also occasionally filmed scenes showing Dundas Junior Public school in the distant background. This school is one block over from De Grassi Street, and was used to give the illusion that the school was in the same neighbourhood.
In 1989, as the characters graduated from Junior High, the series morphed into Degrassi High. Some characters remained, and new ones were also introduced. This time filming primarily took place at Centennial College, located at 951 Carlaw Ave in Toronto. The series ran until 1991.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
In 2001, the Degrassi was revived by rival network CTV. Degrassi: The Next Generation follows Emma Nelson, who was born to teen mom Spike during Degrassi Junior High. The concept has Emma now entering Junior High at the renamed Degrassi Community School.
The series was a major success, airing in the US on Noggin, a part of Nickelodeon. The series was also aired worldwide on a variety of networks. It also launched the careers of Drake, Jake Epstein, Stacy Farber, and Shanae Grimes, amongst others.
For this series, instead of filming at a real school in Toronto, filming took place at Epitome Studios. This studio held a number of soundstages for indoor shots. The facade of the school exterior was built on the outside of the stage building. The studio also features a small backlot where a number of characters houses, as well as the The Dot Grill.
A number of years ago, I was able to visit the studio. Unfortunately they didn’t allow photography, but I was allowed to take some photos from the front gate, viewing the school facade.
Degrassi: Next Class
When The Next Generation was canceled in 2015, Epitome Pictures teamed up with Netflix to continue the series as Degrassi: Next Class. This series is essentially a continuation of the same storyline as the Next Generation, with some characters staying on, and continued use of the sets at Epitome Studios.
The series ran until 2019 when it’s cancelation was announced. Epitome Studios was sold to DHX Studios, which has seemingly ceased operations. In August 2021 I stopped by the studio location to see what has become of it. It looks like the studio is now used as a storage lot for a nearby car dealership, and sadly the school facades are looking neglected.