If you love TV series and travel, Part 2 of our Why Hollywood North Makes a Great Travel Destination is for you! Netflix or TV series-inspired travel is not a new concept, but maybe you’ve never considered Canada as a travel destination for series fans. If Breaking Bad can bring a boost in tourism to Albuquerque, New Mexico, imagine the potential for Canadians and visitors to fall in love with Canada, thanks to all the great TV series filmed here in Hollywood North!
Travelling in Canada is a great way to discover another side of Hollywood North, especially if you’re a fan of one of these series filmed in Canada. Remember, though that even if you’re travelling within Canada, you still need travel insurance. Your provincial health will only cover so much!
Take a travel cue from classic Canadian TV series
If you were an afternoon series lover in your childhood, take a trip down memory lane, and visit some of the iconic sets of these classic TV series: Fraggle Rock, My Secret Identity, Degrassi Junior High, La Femme Nikita, Relic Hunter, and Kids in the Hall all filmed in Ontario, many in or near Toronto. Even the beloved Anne of Green Gables TV series, although set in PEI, filmed many scenes in Greater Toronto. And remember that cute little town in The Gilmore Girls? You guessed it, that’s not an American town at all; the pilot was filmed in historic Unionville, Ontario, also just outside Toronto.
Maybe you watched these BC-filmed series back in the day, or reruns during after school specials: oldies but goodies like The Littlest Hobo, The Beachcombers, Neon Rider, 21 Jump Street and MacGyver were all filmed in and around Vancouver, BC. That’s right! These are all made-in-Canada series. Just think: Vancouver is where a young (and hunky) Johnny Depp became famous, or where Richard Dean Anderson (aka MacGyver) solved the world’s problems with bubble gum and an elastic band. Pretty cool, eh?
You might recognize UBC’s library in the aerial views of the hospital in House, M.D., or if science fiction series are your thing, then you’ll surely want to visit some of the iconic sets of nineties’ cult classic The X Files, also shot in Vancouver, and making a big comeback. BattleStar Galactica, Stargate (again, featuring Canadian hero, MacGyver) shows that Vancouver was quite the sci-fi hot spot in the 90s and 2000s.
I recommend doing a bit of digging on your own to research series produced in Vancouver, or see what’s filming in Vancouver to inspire your next trip.
Recent TV or Netflix series shot in Canada
Canadians and visitors alike might get a kick out of visiting the sets of their favourite Canadian-filmed series:
Hannibal filmed in Toronto and according to Reel Toronto, doesn’t do a very good job of hiding that fact. Suits is currently filming in Toronto, which stands in for New York City quite well. That’s right, those yellow checkered cabs and NYC style hot dog stands are all fake!
Vancouver really steals the show when it comes to TV series shot in Canada. You could say that although more films seem to be shot in Toronto, Vancouver is the true “Netflix North” when it comes to series. Series as wide ranging as The L Word, Dark Angel, Smallville, and The Outer Limits were all filmed in Vancouver. The city of glass (and rain) often stands in for Seattle, which is no surprise with Vancouver’s abundant supply of rainy, gray, west coast scenery. Da Vinci’s City Hall and Davinci’s Inquest are rare series in that they are actually filmed and are about Vancouver and its politics.
Crime fighting and supernatural series seem a natural fit for Vancouver, with some showing off the city’s sights more than others. If you’re into crime thrillers and suspense, series like Arrow, Fringe, The Flash, and Prison Break might pique your travel bug’s interest. Prison Break fans will be happy to know that in April, Prison Break Revival is currently being filmed in (you guessed it), Vancouver.
For Lemony Snicket fans, Netflix is set to film an adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events in Vancouver April to August 2016. That should be a fun set to check out for both big and little kids at heart!
TV Series filmed in other parts of Canada
If you’re a big Trailer Park Boys fan, this thread on Trip Advisor gives you the full scoop on filming locations in Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, Coal Harbour, Nova Scotia. Although not as internationally recognized, Corner Gas, filmed in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, is worth a watch for its take on Canadian prairie humour, and a good reminder that Saskatchewan has lots to offer travellers seeking something off the beaten path.
Wondering why the hit nineties series Dawson’s Creek (the series that launched Katie Holmes’s career) isn’t mentioned above? That’s because it wasn’t actually filmed in Dawson Creek, BC, or in Dawson City, Yukon. It is, however worth visiting both places in Canada though. Take my word for it: If you’re into music, definitely check out the Dawson City Music Festival!
Heck, maybe if you travel where people and places get famous, it might even rub off on you! After all, the rapper, Drake, made it big playing Jimmy Brooks in the series Degrassi: The Next Generation (again, filmed right here in Toronto, Canada!) We hope these series inspire you to plan your next vacation in Canada.
Happy travels in Hollywood North,
Editor’s Note: The header image features the small town of Storybrooke in the TV series, Once Upon a Time, actually shot in Steveson (Richmond, BC). Image courtesy Tourism Richmond.