British Columbia has been host to countless major film and television productions, and in recent years, this already burgeoning industry has exploded in BC, helping it become known as “Hollywood North”. This has happened for a variety of reasons: there are tax credits given to US productions that film here; it’s quick and economical to fly a film crew from LA to Vancouver; the weaker Canadian dollar gives US studios bigger bang for their stronger US buck, and there are many landscapes that can visually substitute for areas in the US. When it comes to filming in BC, we may be biased, but we think the unparalleled natural beauty and diversity of BC’s geography is a huge advantage too!
The BC Route 7 highway is unique in that there are a multitude of locations along the route where major productions have been filmed! Let’s start in Hope and work our way west along BC Route 7: the Hollywood North Highway!
Ask any Hope resident “what is the Hollywood production that Hope is most known for?”, and you’ll enthusiastically be answered, “Rambo: First Blood!” Released back in 1982, the iconic film is still highly celebrated in Hope today. In fact, with the 2019 release of Rambo: Last Blood, Hope is celebrating with a “First Blood to Last Blood” event including a walking tour of filming locations, and double-header screenings of the movies. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo was pivotal in Hollywood North history as it was one of the first high-grossing movies filmed in BC. As such, it garnered the attention of Hollywood execs and was instrumental in getting the film industry rolling in BC. After the tremendous success of Rambo, BC was now seen as a viable setting to film big budget flicks. Although Rambo is the most well-known movie filmed here, there have been several productions filmed in this picturesque mountain town. The spectacular mountain backdrop has made it a choice location for heartwarming Hallmark Movies. Discovery Channel’s “Highway Through Hell” which debuted in 2012 and is still in production, is the longest running show filmed here.
Movies with scenes filmed in Hope include: A Dog’s Way Home (2019), Winter’s Dream (2018), War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), Sweet Virginia (2017), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), Christmas Icetastrophe (2014), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Canyon War (2009), One Week (2008), Afghan Knights (2007), Hope Springs (2003), The Stickup (2002), The Pledge (2001), White Fang II (1994), Far from Home -The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1994), K2 (1991), Shoot to Kill (1988), and Fire with Fire (1986). Hope’s breathtaking Othello Tunnels and Coquihalla Canyon have been particularly popular places to film.
One of the most substantial productions filmed in Agassiz was the dramatic TV series, “Wayward Pines” which aired on FOX TV from 2015 to 2016. The film crew transformed Agassiz by building facades on all the shops on main street, to make it look more like the old-fashioned and mysterious Idaho town envisioned for the series.
In March 2019, a TV pilot called “The Republic of Sarah” was filmed in Agassiz. This CBS production advertised a casting call for 150 extras from the area. Other productions with scenes filmed in Agassiz: the movies Bad Times at the El Royale (2018), Falling for Vermont (2017), and Love in Paradise (2016).
Harrison River Valley
Listed as still in development, the movie 13 Miles involves the sport of triathlon, with many scenes filmed in Harrison Hot Springs. As in Hope, the charming setting of the town has been featured in a number of Hallmark movies.
Travelling past Harrison on the BC Route 7, the next location of note is at the Harrison Mills/Kilby area.
The filming crew and some cast members of a new Apple TV series titled “See” were spotted filming scenes at the old Rat Portage Lumber Company Mill in the Kilby area in March 2019. Hollywood celebrity Jason Momoa, probably best known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Aquaman, plays a key role in the Science Fiction series, and stayed in the area during filming. Fans were excited to see him dine out at Harrison Hot Spring’s Old Settler Pub, and also in attendance at an honouring ceremony held for him by the Sts’ailes First Nation. “See” is being filmed on traditional territory and reserve lands in Harrison Mills, Kilby, and along the Chehalis River.
Mission has been the backdrop for a myriad of productions, including movies, TV series, and commercials. Worth a mention of its own is Rocko’s Diner. It has seen a massive surge in popularity due to the use of the diner as “Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe” in the TV series, Riverdale. Riverdale is based on the Archie comics, but has a darker, more dramatic twist to it. Other productions filmed at Rocko’s include Beyond (2014), Horns (2013), A Killer Among Us (2012), Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), as well as a handful of Hallmark movies.
Some of Mission’s most amazing tourist attractions have been the sites of blockbuster shows: Stave Falls Powerhouse was used in the X-Files, X-Men 2, The 100, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Cascade Falls was featured in the Twilight movie series Breaking Dawn Part 2. Mission’s Waterfront was scenery in the thriller Dragged Across Concrete (2018). Downtown Mission has been featured in the series Riverdale, Beyond, and the movie Playing with Fire (release date November 2019). Mission Raceway Park was featured in the 2019 drama, The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Celebrities filming in Mission have included Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Amanda Seyfried, John Cena, Brianna Hildebrand, Judy Greer, John Leguizamo, Daniel Radcliffe, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Yannick Bisson, and Candace Cameron.
JUMANJI, Robin Williams, 1995, (c) Columbia
Maple Ridge is a hotspot for filming; on average over 15 productions a month happen here. The geographic diversity of the area makes it a versatile backdrop for many Hollywood productions: from the waters of the Fraser River, to abundant mountainous parkland; from a bustling urban core to peaceful rural roads. Some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities have filmed here, including Robert Redford, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, and Uma Thurman.
A quick search of the IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) shows 233 productions filmed at least partly in Maple Ridge. We can’t list them all here, but a few of note are: Movies: Welcome to Marwen (2018), Life on the Line (2015), The X-Files (1998), Jumanji (1995), Needful Things (1993), Bird on a Wire (1990), We’re No Angels (1989), and a TON of TV movies! TV series include The Crossing, The Order, The Flash, iZombie, The 100, Arrow, Supergirl, Stargate SG-1, and MacGyver. Commercials: Ocean Spray, Crayola, Fed Ex, IBM, Subaru, Ford, Toyota, Land Rover, BMW, and Volkswagen.
Coquitlam is home to one of the most filmed locales in Canada: the Riverview Hospital. First opened in the early 1900’s, the main portion of the hospital was used to treat mentally ill patients. The hospital has been abandoned for many years and is the source of ghost sightings and spooky stories. Over 65 productions list Riverview Hospital and its grounds as a filming location. These include popular TV series Supernatural, Fringe, Sanctuary, and Dark Angel, and movies such as Deadpool 2 (2018), The A-Team (2010), Watchmen (2009), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Along Came a Spider (2001), and Romeo Must Die (2000). Other popular filming locations in Coquitlam include Coquitlam Centre (Juno (2007) and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005)); Minnekhada Regional Park (Eclipse (2010) and New Moon (2009) from the Twilight series); Mundy Park; and the Coast Mountains of North Coquitlam.
Now, turn off the TV and come for a drive on the scenic BC Route 7 highway to see these filming locations for yourself! To learn more about these communities and attractions, visit BC Route 7. Visit us on Facebook or Instagram: @BCRoute7.