The Marine Building in downtown Vancouver was once the tallest building in the British Empire. Today, it’s renowned for its unique design outside and Art Deco details inside. It certainly stands out in a sea of glass skyscrapers. The Marine Building has featured in films such as Blade: Trinity, Life or Something Like It starring Angelina Jolie, and as the Baxter Building in Fantastic Four and its sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Located west of Kamloops in BC’s interior, Ashcroft’s more arid landscape has stood in for several places in North and Central America. An Unfinished Life—which has an all-star cast including Robert Redford, Josh Lucas, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez—was set in Wyoming but filmed in Ashcroft and its surrounds. The nearby Elephant Hills Provincial Park became Texas in Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It also stood in for Mexico in both The A-Team reboot and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
The coastal village of Steveston is a very popular filming destination in the Greater Vancouver Area. Movies such as Godzilla, Power Rangers, and Overboard (a 2018 film starring Eva Longoria and Anna Faris) have filmed there in recent years. Vancouver International Airport also lies in Richmond, and it has been used in several movies. Finally, Richmond’s Riverport area was transformed into an ape prison for War for the Planet of the Apes.
Campbell River sits in the isolated north on Vancouver Island. Its remote location has been used for films such as Scarlet Letter and Final Destination II. Lupin Falls Provincial Park was a primary filming location for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes too.
Gastown’s brick buildings, vintage street lamps, and cobblestone streets allow it to be easily transformed into many places from around the world, including New York City, London, and Seattle. Although there have been plenty of movies filmed in Gastown, a few popular options include The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (a lot of scenes were shot in Vancouver following Heath Ledger’s unexpected death), I, Robot, Big Eyes, and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Vancouver Art Gallery sits in the city’s former courthouse, so its exterior is quite foreboding. This grandeur makes it perfect for blockbusters. Some movies that have filmed there include Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and X-Men: The Last Stand.
Hatley Castle sits on the Royal Roads University campus, just outside of Victoria on Vancouver Island. It was a former residence, then a military college, before becoming the museum it is today. Its stunning architecture and large, manicured grounds make it a very picturesque filming location. Some of the movies that have filmed at Hatley Castle include Deadpool, In the Land of Women, and the X-Men trilogy. It was transformed into Xavier’s School for the Gifted.
Cute ski town Nelson lies east of Vancouver in the Kootenay Rockies. The British Columbia tourism website says it has the most active arts and culture scene in the region. The 1986 classic Steve Martin comedy Roxanne was filmed in Nelson. Another movie shot around the town was Snow Falling on Cedars, a 1999 film starring Ethan Hawke.
The University of British Columbia campus is one of Canada’s most beautiful university campuses and one of its largest. It’s home to sports arenas, award-winning museums, and plenty of university buildings. Many movies have used the campus as a filming location over the years. If I Stay and Josie and the Pussycats both shot scenes in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Meanwhile, Taken used the War Memorial Gym and the Administration Building.
Located between Vancouver and Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is a good location for filming both urban and rural scenes. It has access to the mountains, the forest, and the beautiful Howe Sound. The award-winning movie The Revenant shot some scenes around Squamish, as did the Robin Williams film, Insomnia. The Twilight Saga also filmed in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park—a favorite local hiking area.
Vancouver Public Library’s central branch is an architecturally unique building that sits on a plaza, which works well for scenes filled with crowds of people. The library has been used in films such as This Means War with Reese Witherspoon; The Interview starring Vancouver-raised actor Seth Rogen; and Double Jeopardy.
Another location on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a coastal city on the east side of the island. It conveniently has a ferry connection to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. It has been used as a filming location for movies such as Man of Steel, where it stood in for Alaska. It also became nearby Washington State for the Twilight Saga, which filmed scenes around Nanaimo River.
Invermere is another town located in the Kootenay Rockies region. Its surrounding mountains were where most of the acclaimed film The Mountain Between Us was shot. Scenes were also filmed at nearby Panorama Mountain Resort. The movie was released in late 2017 and stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. The film’s director, Hany Abu-Assad, said that filming conditions were tough, harsh, and very cold.
Step back to your school days and see where many school-based movies are filmed in Vancouver. Templeton Secondary School has stood in for plenty of educational institutions in many movies. It was Westmore Middle School in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its sequels. The school was also used in Spectacular! and Personal Effects, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher.
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Ucluelet lies near famed Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Along with Nanaimo, it stood in for Alaska for some scenes in the Man of Steel. War for the Planet of the Apes also filmed scenes in Ucluelet.
Gibsons lies on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. It became Washington State for the Zac Efron film, Charlie St Cloud. Scenes for the movie were filmed at Gibsons Harbour Fuel Dock, as well as 1230 Point Road, which served as Tess’ house. The Fog, a 2005 movie starring Tom Welling and Maggie Grace, was also shot around Gibsons.