I've only watched a couple episodes so far (maybe about halfway through season 1), and I'm not sure if I just completely missed something obvious, but I have no idea where the show is set. One of the characters attends the University of Minnesota (which has several campuses throughout the state), but the other characters usually talk to her via phone or internet video-chat, which suggests some distance from the rest of the action.

I've checked a few different places to try to figure it out (BBC website, Wikipedia, and IMDB), but I've only watched a few episodes, and these sources start to become spoilers before they reveal the location.

So, where does Orphan Black take place?

3 Answers 3


Many of the places that appear in the show are indeed in Toronto but the actual place where the show takes places is deliberately ambiguous.

Graeme Manson, one of the show creators and executive producer, talks about it in a interview about sci-fi in Canada:

"Much has also been made of its ambiguous setting. For example, what appear to be suburban trains in the opening sequence are departing for New York, but the dead woman’s wallet is filled with Canadian currency. “It’s meant to be Generica,” says Manson. “It’s part of the price you pay for this kind of co-production.”

Check the whole article here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/how-canada-is-becoming-the-sci-fi-nation/article11157191/?page=2


It's set in Canada (and shot in Toronto) but the exact city isn't explicitly shown. However, there's a lot of evidence pointing towards it being set in Toronto as well:

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This is the ticket the Sarah finds in Beth's apartment. It clearly has Toronto as one of the terminals.

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The seal is that of the Toronto Police Service.

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Alison Hendrix is born in Scarborough, which is a suburb or Toronto, and lives there as well.

Alison: Well, we live in Scarborough. About a million years ago, I went to university.

  • 1
    Also Canadian license plates.
    – Josh
    Jun 20, 2014 at 18:39

The University of Minnesota scenes are meant to take place in either the Minneapolis or Saint Paul campus.

In episode 1x06, there's a shot of a sign that says "College of Biological Sciences". Only the Twin Cities branch of the University of Minnesota has a College of Biological Sciences specifically named like that. CBS has buildings on both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul campuses; I was unable to identify any of the buildings seen in the show.

The sign also says "Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics". The U of M does have a Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics program, but the buildings it's housed in don't really look like what we see in the show: Molecular and Cellular Biology and Jackson Hall

It's possible they faked the building signs and shot them in Toronto like most of the series. If so, they did a pretty good job of matching the U of M's sign style.

I doublechecked the episode and took a screenshot of the aforementioned exterior shot:College of Biological Sciences sign

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