Goblets and Goblins owner Eddi Rayle said he started watching The Handmaid's Tale upon signing off to allow the back of his downtown Newmarket business to appear in the show.
Rayle said producers approached him about his business appearing in shots, but he did not know much about the program.
“I just thought it was an old movie,” Rayle said. “But when I watched it, wow, that is not what I expected. This dystopian, weird, future. OK, I can get behind this.”
Newmarket businesses spoke positively about the prospect of filming to start in the downtown core April 1 around the Old Town Hall. Although the town has not named the series filming there, multiple businesses said production company representatives confirmed it was The Handmaid’s Tale.
NewmarketToday did not receive a reply from Whizbang Films, the Toronto-based production company behind the show, before publication deadline.
Little Rae Goods owner Sherry Paynani said she feels excited about the prospect of filming. She said the ongoing setup has not impacted her business thus far.
“Any exposure is a good exposure,” she said. “It makes me feel like downtown is going to be the place to be in the near future, with the boutique hotel coming and movies taking place here.”
The town has estimated the filming could represent a $200,000 boost to the local economy, with permit fees, accommodation and dining. The town said that April 1 should be a major filming day with approximately 100 extras.
But with the filming, parking will be more limited. The town has said parking would be disallowed around Market Square between March 29 to April 2. On-street parking is closed on Timothy Street and Botsford Street to April 3.
Unwind Yarn House owner Karen Henderson said the week has been a little slower after warning customers her store’s street parking would not be available. She said the film days could be inconvenient, but she is OK with it.
“It will be fun and exciting,” she said. “Parking is a challenge down here. It will be a few days of inconvenience for sure — for business owners and our customers — but it’s a great opportunity.”
Cardinal Press Espresso Bar owner Ashley Torgis said she and her husband came from Toronto’s filming industry. She said they look forward to the production.
“We always support the film and television industry,” she said. “We love it.”
Rayle said after getting approached about it by the production, it will be cool to see his business potentially pop up in the background.
“It’s good for the community," he said of the filming. "Brings a lot of attention to Newmarket, a lot of attention to local businesses."
You can get information about associated parking and road disruptions at heynewmarket.ca/filming.