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Survival Skills Are Put to the Test in ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’—But Where Was It Filmed?

The Marsh King’s Daughter, a psychological thriller based on the best-selling 2017 historical fiction novel by Karen Dionne, hits theaters across the U.S. today. Originally set to be released in early October, it was delayed to avoid competing with the release of Taylor Swift: The Era’s Tour

After spending her childhood in captivity, Helena Petterier (played by Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame) is forced to face her past when her survivalist father escapes from prison after 20 years. Convinced her father, Jacob (played by Ben Mendelsohn), will come to take her young daughter, Helena must use all she learned from the man she once idolized growing up in isolation in the wilderness. 

Key Filming Locations 

Filming for The Marsh King’s Daughter took place over two months, June through August 2021, in Toronto and upper Ontario and included both city scenes and swamp and marshland locations. Although the book author Dionne wanted film production to take place in her home of 30 years, the Michigan UP (Upper Peninsula), she was happy that director Neil Burger chose filming locations that closely resembled that area. She could not be onsite during much of the filming due to the border being closed from COVID restrictions. However, after seeing photos from the shoot, she tweeted, “gives me shivers! This is going to be such a gorgeous film.”

Kent County Circuit Court—Alliston, Ontario

Court scenes involving Helena’s father were filmed at the Kent County Circuit Court in Alliston, Ontario. 

Kimberley School and Community Centre 55 (formerly Police Station #10 and #55)—Main St. Toronto, Ontario

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Image by Community Centre 55

Some street scenes show Helena getting off a school bus surrounded by news trucks. Helena and her mother leave the police station where photographers try to get their pictures for news stories, and these were all filmed off Main Street in Toronto. 

Ken Reid Conservation Area—Lindsay, Ontario, Canada 

This protected area is 276 acres (110 hectares) and encompasses McLaren’s Creek Wetland, which looks very much like the UP. Filming took place over several days in the marshland area, providing the backdrop for several important scenes in the movie.

Wild Areas of French River, Lake Simcoe, Kawartha Lakes, and Kingston Pen—Greater Ontario Area

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Image by Benedek

The wildlife and nature areas around Ontario, including Mississauga, Caledon, and Lake Simcoe are featured throughout the film—from scenes shot above showing the waterways to the woodland areas surrounding the cabin the family called home when Helena was a child. The fictional cabin where Helena grows up is actually in the Tahquamenon River Valley of the Upper Peninsula, surrounded by swamp and marshland. Production of the cabin scenes featured in both the beginning and end of the film took place in the wilds of Ontario meant to resemble the UP.  

At the forested home of an adult Helena and her daughter and husband who know nothing about her past, Helena sets booby traps just in case her father comes for her. Alongside the marshland and natural areas of upper Ontario, these areas create the perfect background for building tension, fear, and madness while Helena tries to protect her family.

Helena goes to hell and back to protect her family, using the hunting and navigational skills she learned early in life as she tries to outwit the very person who taught her those survival skills in the first place. Dokis First Nation helped carry equipment, actors, and crew to the remote filming locations, which were sometimes a 20-minute boat ride away.

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  1. hi i think there might be a mistake as Alliston Ontario doesn’t have a Court, I know there is scenes from Alliston just the not that one

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