If you’ve ever experienced déjà vu while flicking through photos of Vancouver, it might be because you’ve seen the city in your favourite film. Vancouver has earned the nickname Hollywood North thanks to its status as the third largest centre for the film industry in North America. Part of this is accredited to how scenically versatile Vancouver is – if a location scout is looking for modern sky-scrapers, Victorian architecture, beautiful mountains or a scenic waterfront, Vancouver can deliver.
Here are some well-known movies that have been filmed within the city’s boundaries (remember to keep an eye out on future filming schedules – Vancouver is rich with celeb-spotting opportunities).
The born-and-raised Vancouverite Ryan Reynolds returned to his hometown for this 2016 superhero blockbuster. While several Vancouver sights are visible in the background, the most notable is The Georgia Street Viaduct, where Deadpool first encountered Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Countless Marvel fans have visited this now-famous road to get a glimpse of the real life location.
2. 50 Shades of Grey
While you won’t actually find Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. in Vancouver, you will find the Bentall 5 building that was used as a stand in. You also won’t find Washington State University anywhere nearby but if you walk around The University of British Columbia, you might find it looks very familiar.
3. X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand
While these two X-Men films are based around a group of mutants in America caught in a war with Washing DC officials, a lot of the filming takes place in western Canada. The Hatley Park National Historic Site on Vancouver Island acts as the exterior for Xavier’s Mansion and the estate is proud of their silver-screen contributions. Guided tours are available with all individual ticket prices under $20.
4. Twilight: New Moon
While Bella’s home town of Forks is an actual place not far south of the Canadian border; Vancouver was chosen as the filming location for the second film in this vampire franchise. The scene with Jacob and his friends cliff-jumping was Parthenon Park, a tiny beachfront park in West Vancouver. While Stanley Park and Kitsilano can also be seen in the background of some scenes.
The 2009 neo-noir superhero film Watchmen was filmed in around Vancouver, with some added technological touches. The military base where Dr Manhattan emerges after his accident is the Crease Clinic (part of the Riverview Hospital) while the mansion where Laurie Jupiter watches Nite Owl’s airship take off is the Shannon Mews.
Vancouver’s backdrop is so versatile it feels as though it can step in for any USA state. In the case of Juno, it stepped in for Minnesota. Most of the film is set in and around a school, and Juno’s home so fans of the film will need to leave the centre of the city if they want to find the filming locations.
With the strikingly similar Victorian architecture, Vancouver has stood in for San Francisco on multiple occasions. But in 2014’s Godzilla re-make, it wasn’t just the Californian city it pulled together for – it was also the backdrop for what was meant to be Tokyo and the Philippines.
8. Fantastic Four
Deadpool wasn’t the only Marvel superhero to make his way to Vancouver. 2005’s Fantastic Four used the Marine Building in Downtown Vancouver as a stand-in for the Baxter Building in New York City. If the building looks familiar, it might be because you also spotted it in Blade: Trinity, Timecop and Smallville (where it was used as Clark Kent’s workplace, Daily Planet).
9. Mission Impossible 4
In 2011 fans of Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible franchise were treated to appearances of the actor. Standing in for Seattle was Granville Island where the final scenes at the pier were filmed, while the exterior of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre stood in for the Mumbai street scene!
10. Tron: Legacy
Vancouver was the principle location for this 2010 science fiction movie. The interior shots were filmed at the Canadian Motion Picture Park Studios on the banks of the Fraser River. While many of the exterior shots were filmed out and about with the Vancouver skyline visible in several scenes. On top of that, Propaganda Games who created the Tron: Evolution, is based in Vancouver.