Vancouver Productions to Binge While You’re Self-Isolating

As we adjust to our “new normal” of social distancing and self-isolation, take solace that technology allows us to maintain a semblance of normality – particularly with such a rich collection of artistic expression to keep us grounded, whether music, virtual art exhibits and plays, or movies and TV shows.

As days stretch into weeks, we’ve compiled a list of feel-good, binge-worthy and borderline addictive productions filmed in Vancouver to keep everyone in the household entertained. From our family to yours, we’re in this together.

For parents seeking to entertain the kiddos: Disney’s Descendants

As if you needed another excuse to order Disney+! The Descendants franchise is geared towards teens and tweens, though parents will appreciate the throwback references to Disney’s most classic characters. The storyline follows the descendants of uber-famous heroes and villains like Beauty and the Beast, Maleficent and Cruella de Vil, who exist in a world where good and evil are separated by a tangible barrier. When the barrier is accidentally broken, the characters realize the distinction between “good” and “evil” is blurry at best. The third movie in the franchise was released last August, and filmed at Vancouver and Vancouver Island attractions like the Britannia Mine Museum, University of British Columbia and Hatley Castle.


For people seeking binge-worthy dramas: Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

If you’re like us, you gorged on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale the second they were released on Netflix (and yes, we plan to indulge in a binge-tastic rewatch during the next few weeks). If not, you’re in for a deliciously horrifying treat! The appropriately acronym’d CAOS is centred on Archie Comics character Sabrina Spellman, a coming-of-age witch who’s torn between her very different lives in the mortal and magical realms. Along the way, she falls in love, heads to Hell and comes to term with some serious daddy issues. All three seasons were filmed in Vancouver and surrounding areas at venues like the historic Paramount and Vogue theatres and idyllic Barnet Marine Park.


Riverdale, the cousin to CAOS, is based on the trials and tribulations of Archie Andrews and the gang, albeit a campy murderous version. As the characters solve killings, escape sticky situations and uncover soap opera-level truths about their friends, families and selves, they move through compelling scenery that fans can easily find in and around Vancouver. As a tantalizing teaser, Alouette Lake is featured in the first episode, as the scene of Jason Blossom’s murder; Rocko’s Diner played Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe in the show’s pilot episode; and The Twilight Drive-in plays itself.


For fans of fantastical escapism: Once Upon a Time

For seven rollercoaster seasons, Once Upon a Time barreled through twisty storylines, stunning sets and a fairytale drama encompassing everyone’s favourite Disney characters. The story revolves around Emma Swam, a bail bonds collector whose life is turned upside-down when the son she gave up for adoption finds her and insists she is really Snow White. The charming show was filmed in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and New Westminster, with the main sets of Storybrooke filmed in quaint Steveston. Other shooting locations include leafy Central Park in Burnaby, the Fort Langley Community Hall in Langley and Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston. You can binge all seven seasons on Netflix.


For a spooky storyline that will keep you guessing: Sacred Lies
Amassing more than half a million followers after the launch of season one, “The Handless Maiden”, the enthralling anthology Sacred Lies dropped season two, “The Singing Bones”, in late February. The first season follows a handless teen who escapes from a cult and finds herself in juvenile detention, with authorities convinced she knows who killed her cult leader; season two features a completely new storyline. Both seasons were filmed in Vancouver, including hotspot filming locations like Blieberger Farm in Langley, which plays the home of the cult and has also hosted crews from Once Upon a Time, Supergirl, The 100 and The X-Files; Stanley Park, which plays the entrance to the forest hosting the cult; and Murdo Frazer Park in North Vancouver, where an isolated cabin appears as a hideaway in the show’s second season, with further appearances in Travelers, The Flash and Supernatural. Sacred Lies is available to stream on Facebook Watch.


For a juicy romance: Virgin River

Netflix’s romance-drama Virgin River has captured the hearts of critics and consumers everywhere with an engaging storyline following nurse practitioner Melinda Monroe who moves to Virgin River, California to accept a position as a midwife following her husband’s death. People have lauded the town of Virgin River, a utopian space that exists more in our fantasies than in reality – but the scenic surroundings are true to life, and comprised of an amalgamation of settings in Vancouver and surrounding regions. Filming locations include the magically named Snug Cove on Bowen Island; tranquil Deer Lake Park in Burnaby; popular filming site Murdo Frazer Cabin in North Vancouver; and the pounding waterfalls of Shannon Falls Provincial Park along the stunning Sea to Sky Highway, among others.

For more filmed-in-Vancouver fun, visit Tourism Vancouver’s “Filmed in Vancouver” portal.


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