A bus was outfitted to look like a D.C. Circulator in Toronto. (Photo: Reddit user meatballs_21)

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was preparing for his first official trip to Washington, a D.C. icon was fulfilling its own duties in our neighbor to the north.

At least it looked that way.

On Tuesday, a Reddit user posted a photo of what appeared to be a D.C. Circulator bus sitting in the middle of Toronto, among two suspiciously D.C.-like taxicabs. The vehicles were spotted amid filming at York and Wellington Streets.

The post, originally published to the Toronto subreddit, was cross-posted on D.C.’s forum, where a user asked: “someone care to explain what is going on here exactly?”

D.C.’s Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment passed along a statement from the District Department of Transportation. Apparently, the bus isn’t an actual Circulator bus. But, DDOT said, “it has been made up to resemble a Circulator.”

DDOT says it was contacted last month by the producers of “Miss Sloane”, a political thriller starring Jessica Chastain as a lobbyist taking on America’s powerful gun lobby. Chastain spent time in Washington last month researching the role.

And the bus itself is pretty true to life: In the front driver’s side corner, a DDOT logo can be made out. The District’s film office said it was working with the filmmakers to ensure that the Circulator images and logos are used legally.

A DDOT logo on a bus outfitted to look like a Circulator. (Photo: Reddit user meatballs_21)
A DDOT logo on a bus outfitted to look like a Circulator. (Photo: Reddit user meatballs_21)

“Generally, movie companies will recreate/fabricate what they can when shooting off-location, provided the logos, images, etc. are not copyrighted,” said Film office spokesman Pharoh Martin, a likely explanation for the red and grey taxicabs. “In this case, the production company and DDOT worked directly to negotiate the usage of their imaging and logos within the film.”

It was not immediately clear which transit agency the bus belonged to, but Redditors extrapolated from the route information that it must have been a Burlington, Ontario transit bus. All signs say the scene in question was meant to evoke D.C.

“I can confirm to you that we have two productions on the streets of Toronto that are being shot as a ‘Toronto for D.C.’ look,” said Eric Jensen, Film Manager with the city’s Film and Television Office. “The vehicles in the photo forwarded in your email are in fact picture vehicles for one of these two productions.”

(h/t Reddit)