Vancouver in the Movies: Top 5 film locations

Fringe Films Evacuation Scene at Vancouver Film School

Earlier this month, when I was walking down Granville Street late one night, I stumbled upon a crime scene.  Riot vans had congregated at the corner of Granville and Pender.  There was a huge crowd, and several policemen were yelling into their radios.

Only upon closer inspection did I notice that the riot van said San Francisco Police Department on the side.  Turns out I had stumbled onto a movie set for an upcoming TV series.

That got me thinking about how often Vancouver ends up in movies and on TV (often disguised as another city).  I did some research and found a few of the top filming locations in the city (many thanks to a great article by John Mackie in the Vancouver Sun).

Below are 5 well known filming spots.  If you know more, please comment below:

1) Vancouver Art Gallery:  This elegant neoclassical building, originally designed as a courthouse by the great Francis Rattenbury, has been used in more than 100 productions, including my favourite, Night at the Museum.

CTV filming a "Do you Believe?" Commercial for Vancouver 2010 Olympics at Vancouver Art Gallery

2) Marine Building: This classic 1930 highrise on the corner of Burrard and Hastings, with its elaborate facade and temple-like lobby, has appeared in the series Smallville and the films Fantastic Four and Blade: Trinity.

Le Jour ni l'Heure : Vancouver, Marine Building (1929-1930), Burrard Street, par John Young McCarter (1886-1881) et George Colvil Nairne (1884-1953), dimanche 13 avril 2008, 21:52:47

3) The PNE:  The PNE never struck me as especially photogenic.  But apparently the Pacific Coliseum, Agrodome and other buildings have featured in the recent blockbusters Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Best in Show, as well as the classic Rocky IV.

4) SFU:  The futuristic-looking campus of Simon Fraser University, designed by Vancouver’s native son Arthur Erickson, has been featured in a number of sci-fi hits including Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica and Underworld 4.

5) White Pine Beach at Buntzen Lake:  One of Vancouver’s hydro lakes, Buntzen has been featured in Twilight: Eclipse, Smallville and Supernatural.

These are just a few examples.  Do you know of other popular filming spots in Vancouver?  Please let us know below.

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8 Responses to Vancouver in the Movies: Top 5 film locations

  1. Johanna

    Steveston & the downtown Vancouver Library.

    • Vancouver Library has appeared in Science Fiction shows like Battlestar Galactica and Caprica

  2. Teri

    Fort Langley in particular (the community hall especially) has been in so many movies and TV shows, it should be on your list. They are constantly filming in and around Fort Langley….and we are not THAT far away from Vancouver!

  3. LM

    The UBC campus is a popular film location with its mix of new and old buildings.

  4. me659

    I just thought i should mention that the futuristic styled SFU campus and shopping centre is located in the city of Surrey across the river and seperated from Vancouver by the city of New Westminster and Burnaby.

    • sorry but thats wrong, they filmed at the SFU burnaby campus. NOT the surrey one.

  5. Craig

    White Pine Beach was also used for Life Unexpected.

  6. Chelle

    @me659: It’s the Burnaby Mountain SFU campus that the article is referring to, and it’s certainly been in quite a few movies. In fact, I just saw it the other day while watching “The Sixth Day” on tv.