Hollywood North has been extra busy the last few years, as the supply of new content to watch on streaming services like Netflix is seemingly endless. Particularly popular is British Columbia. Vancouver has been dressed up to look like just about every city on Earth at this point, while the surrounding area has been used as the backdrop for movies and TV set on different continents, and even different planets.
You’ve probably spent more time watching British Columbia on screen than you realize, but those looking for a guided tour of Canada’s West Coast can start by watching these binge-worthy shows currently streaming on Canadian Netflix.
The Flash and Supergirl
Comic book fans have no shortage of options when it comes to seeing the pages of D.C. Comics translated to the small screen. Since 2014, Vancouver has had the secret identity of Central City, home to the fastest man alive, The Flash. BC Place hosts both the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps by day, and at night, during filming hours, plays The Flash’s headquarters of S.T.A.R. Labs. Those wanting to see more of The Flash’s filming locations can sign up for walking tours, which we assume move at a pace designed for ordinary citizens, not superhuman speedsters.
And as if being one superhero hometown weren’t enough, Supergirl moved its fictional National City from Los Angeles to Vancouver when the show began filming its second season in 2016. In just the first handful of episodes, you’ll be able to see the Vancouver’s Central Library and the Bloedel Conservatory on screen. After watching, check out the awesome fan blog Fangirl Quest, for a guided screen comparison of how the real locations compared to their onscreen alter ego!
Since 2014, viewers could transport themselves to a futuristic Earth where mutants, rogue A.I. and space prisoners fight for control of a landscape that looks an awful like the forests of BC. Based on a young adult book series, The 100 may sound grim, but it’s an exciting sci-fi mashup, throwing influences like The Hunger Games and The Matrix at a canvas that is BC’s great outdoors.
Filming locations for the series stretch north from Vancouver up to Squamish, and further still to Whistler. Be sure to stop at the Britannia Mine Museum, to not only learn about the history of mining in BC, but also view locations featured in both The 100 and The Flash. Once again, Fangirl Quest has your resource for making a The 100 viewing tour into a BC road trip, and we’ve got the guide for what to pack for the road.
If it wasn’t apparent already, the CW Network really likes filming in and around Vancouver, which can pass for rural America just as easily as it can a futuristic battleground. The fictional town of Riverdale is supposed to be on the East Coast, but Riverdale, a reimagining of the long-running Archie Comics series, is all West Coast behind the scenes.
This soapy revamp is anything but sleepy when it comes to subject matter (murder mysteries are more this show’s speed), but various residential neighbourhoods in the Greater Vancouver Area sub in for the homes of Archie Andrews and the gang. Riverdale Highschool, where much of the show’s capital-D Drama takes place, is a composite of three different schools across the GVA. The most interesting locations, though, are east of the city; Langley, Abbotsford and Mission are passed off for Riverdale’s mansions and drive-in theatres, helping ensure the show’s small-town vibe.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
West Coast Canada is known for being a different kind of chill, but this dark update of the ‘70s comic book brings frights aplenty to the Lower Mainland. Starring Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as half-witch high schooler Sabrina Spellman, this Netflix series started as a companion show to Riverdale, before moving online.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be particularly fun for GVA locals, as it puts a haunting spin on some of the Lower Mainland’s most unassuming locations. New Westminster, Burnaby and Surrey are all shown at their spookiest when given the chance to play Sabrina’s hometown of Greendale. Local online paper Daily Hive has a handy photo tour for you to flip through once you’ve devoured the first season.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
No tour of British Columbia, not even a streaming one, would be complete without experiencing the wealth of food options available in Vancouver. On the premiere episode of Netflix’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, celebrity chef David Chang teams up with Vancouver-born Seth Rogen to graze across the GVA, hitting some of the area’s best eateries and tourist destinations in the process.
The feast begins at Granville Island, where the hosts indulge in a fresh batch of Lee’s donuts. After a crabbing detour around Stanley Park, the show goes into the kitchen at dim sum fixture Sun Sui Wah, before a trip to HK BBQ Master puts the spotlight on the delicious eating options of Richmond. To cap off the whirlwind culinary tour, David and Seth take a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium – don’t worry, none of the aquarium’s adorable residents are on the menu.
Now that you know where to see some of the best of British Columbia, it’s time to binge away! As you do, start planning which locations you want to visit, whether as a TV fan, or a traveller (and even if you’re just visiting from another province, don’t forget your travel insurance – you’ll want it!).
This article is part of a series of activities for you to enjoy while at home to limit the spread of COVID-19. For more information on TuGo’s response to COVID-19, visit our FAQ.