Vancouver: why film makers come to the chameleon city

Movies stars aren't the only ones doing the acting



Greater Vancouver spends a lot of time playing other cities. It’s served as everything from New York and Forks to a town in Maine populated by fairy tale characters.

What attracts tourists to the area—the cultural diversity, the views, the food—also attracts Hollywood A-listers and their film crews. And, if you know where to look, you can follow in their footsteps.

“One of the great things we hear from celebrities is the reason they love Vancouver…they’re allowed to be themselves,” says Ronan Barrett, public relations representative for the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which has hosted more than a few celebs during its nearly 75-year history. Often replicating San Francisco or New York, the interior and exterior of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has been used for many films and shows such as the Get Carter remake, Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep and V. “The lobby was even turned into a New Orleans casino lobby for Double Jeopardy,” says Barrett.

The star-stalking culture of L.A. doesn’t apply in the Fairmont, Barrett says, so when someone like Halle Berry or Kevin Bacon visits the hotel, or swanky CinCin restaurant on Robson Street, they can unwind between scenes.

However, spotting stars on Vancouver’s streets can be an entirely different matter. When Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart were spied while filming The Twilight Saga, the Twittersphere went berserk over their whereabouts.

And it’s not only Vancouver proper that gets the spotlight. The historic cannery village of Steveston in Richmond was transformed into Storybrooke, Maine, the setting for ABC’s hit Once Upon a Time. Walk down Moncton Street and you’ll see signs for Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer and Storybrooke Country Bread. It’s a movie set come to life.

In fact, many TV series have made Vancouver their home base over the years—Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, 21 Jump Street (the original TV series with Johnny Depp), even The X-Files. So the next time you’re in town, keep your eyes open. Your favourite film or TV star could be just around the corner.

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