Pop culture moments filmed in Vancouver

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      While Vancouver is known as Hollywood North, it rarely plays itself in a film or on a TV show, instead usually standing in for big cities like Seattle and San Francisco—but also for fictional ones like Rosedale and Star City. Many of our city’s locations are easily recognizable, but others tend to slip under the radar. Here are some easy-to-miss Lower Mainland spots that have seen airtime in pop culture’s biggest flicks and shows over the years.

      Holt Renfrew in Pretty Little Liars

      Holt Renfrew in Pretty Little Liars.
      Photo via Disney/Freeform.

      While production for the popular Freeform series Pretty Little Liars was eventually moved to Los Angeles, the pilot episode was shot all around Vancouver—also the hometown of one its stars, Shay Mitchell. In one scene, Ashley Benson’s Hanna indulges in a shoplifting adventure at a luxury department store in the town of Rosewood. The shooting location? None other than downtown’s Holt Renfrew. The marble white floors and shelves of the stores’ accessory and jewelry departments, along with the freestanding escalators, can be seen in the background.

      Point Grey Secondary School in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

      Point Grey Secondary in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.
      Photo via Netflix.

      In To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the romance between Noah Centineo’s Peter and Lana Condor’s Lara Jean begins at the fictional Adler High School—but west side Vancouverites will recognize it as Point Grey Secondary School in Kerrisdale (where a certain Seth Rogen went before dropping out to pursue acting). The blue running track serves as the background to a number of interactions (dramatic and otherwise) between the duo, and is considered one of the most iconic spots in the trilogy of Netflix movies, which also spent time filming in Fort Langley.

      Foxglove Cottage in The Vampire Diaries

      The pilot for CW’s The Vampire Diaries was filmed in the Lower Mainland before packing up and heading to Atlanta, Georgia for the remainder of its duration. Langley’s Foxglove Cottage was the moody setting for the original Salvatore Boarding House—home of vampire brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore, played by Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley. The property is home to one of the most memed scenes in the show, in which Damon smirks and addresses his younger sibling with the line, “Hello, Brother.” The charming, ivy-covered cottage has also appeared in the Blake Lively flick Age of Adaline as well as in the soapy Archie Comics-inspired Riverdale.

      Hatley Castle in Arrow

      Victoria’s Hatley Castle has had its fair share of airtime in movies and TV shows—but perhaps none are as notable as being the mansion of Oliver Queen (played by Toronto native Stephen Amell) in Arrow. The 40-room mansion, which was built in 1906 in a Scottish baronial style, appears in many episodes of the former CW show set in the fictional Star City. The castle-like property also makes a pretty substantial appearance in the X-Men films as Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, as well as in Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool (the latter of which also features an epic fight scene on the Georgia Viaduct).

      Rocko’s Diner in Riverdale

      Rocko’s Diner in Riverdale.
      Photo via Netflix/WB.

      The free-standing Rocko’s Diner in Mission lived a double life as Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe in the Riverdale universe. K.J. Apa’s Archie and gang—including love interests Betty and Veronica, and best pal Jughead—are often seen hanging out there, discussing drama and solving mysteries over milkshakes. The real Rocko’s is open 24 hours a day, serving up shakes, beer, wine, and desserts—and has become a destination for Riverdale fans to visit over the years.

      Paramount Theatre in Twilight

      The Twilight saga has come and gone, but the fanbase remains fiercely loyal—with tours still offered to shooting spots around the Lower Mainland. One lesser-known but easily accessible location is the Paramount Theatre in New Westminster, which stands in for a theatre in Port Angeles, Washington. In a memorable New Moon scene, Kristen Stewart’s Bella and Anna Kendrick’s Jessica are seen exiting the theatre after watching a film, turning to taking a stroll towards Front Street—where they encounter a potentially dangerous group on motorcycles.

      The Watershed Grill in Virgin River

      The Watershed Grill in Virgin River.
      Photo via Netflix.

      Under the guise of a Northern California town, Netflix’s Virgin River embraces and showcases the natural beauty of Vancouver, Bowen Island, and Squamish. In the popular series, Martin Henderson’s Jack runs Jack’s Bar—which is actually the real-life Watershed Grill in Brackendale, just north of Squamish. Jack and Melinda (Alexandra Breckenridge) can be seen in several scenes at the location, which is primarily used as an establishing exterior shot.

      Ah, the magic of Hollywood (North).