As Akiva Goldsman alludes, Toronto has often been used as a stand-in for New York, so Kirk’s confusion over his whereabouts (despite the huge video screen with news about “Budget Overruns on Lake Ontario Bridge”) serves as an in-joke about that. The place doubles for other U.S. cities, too: as authentically “Boston” as “Good Will Hunting” might seem, its famous Harvard bar scene was filmed in Toronto.
La’an reminds Kirk that Toronto is “the biggest city in what used to be called Canada,” but if she had the time or the meta inclination, she might have also educated him on how Toronto was (and in real life, is) a magnet for film and television productions due to government tax incentives. This has earned it the nickname “Hollywood North.” Amazingly, even the Oscar-winning musical “Chicago” was shot in, you guessed it, Toronto.
“Strange New Worlds” co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers told Collider that local crew members helped make the Toronto of “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” more recognizable, though the episode uses VFX to invent new sections of the city:
“It also became an interesting gift for our director [Amanda Row], who came from Toronto and really knew it, and everyone who works on the show, who all know Toronto very deeply, and had a chance to kind of give it a look and a feel that made it feel a little bit different and more recognizable to people who knew that area of the world. […] One of the only unique challenges we had, that we’ve never had literally in the VFX work that we do across the show, is there are sections of Toronto that we invent, and you wouldn’t know that it’s not real until you see it.”
New episodes of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” stream every Thursday on Paramount+.