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Posts tagged: TransLink in TV and Film

Metro Vancouver: Hollywood North

Film crew on Hastings Photo courtesy of John Biehler

Film crew near Hastings St. during a night shoot
Photo courtesy of John Biehler

When I saw the news that Ryan Reynolds was heading home to film the Deadpool movie AND the amazing reboot of The X-Files (hopefully to be filmed here again as well) was going forward I got super excited!

I love that I have lived in two major Canadian cities that have become the backdrop for so many TV shows and movies.

Personally, whenever I see a street filled with trailers and film equipment, my interest is instantly piqued!

I usually wonder 2 things:

1) What is being filmed?
2) Have I seen it?

With a mix of throwback and current favourites, here are 10 shows that were filmed right here in Metro Vancouver!

Have you seen any of these familiar faces or others around town? Any celebrity encounters on transit?

Once I sat across from Ben from Felicity (Scott Speedman) on the TTC.

But my claim to fame by association was really the impromptu chat I had with Malcom McDowell downtown Toronto. He said I was lovely and gave me free signed merch for my dad and I! THAT. WAS. COOL.

Don’t forget transit! Check out buses, SkyTrains and even stations stealing scenes in these past Buzzer blog posts.

You can always see who is filming where, around the region at  YVRShoots and take a peek at what’s filming this spring and summer, while you’re at it!

**Great news for all Roald Dahl fans, Steven Spielberg is directing a new movie version of The B.F.G. being filmed right now!!!**

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit on TV: ‘The Flash’, a Millennium Line SkyTrain cameo in DC Comics television series’ trailer


Astute Vancouverites  know Vancouver is often referred to as “Hollywood North.” Our film industry is the third largest in North America behind only Los Angeles and New York.

Naturally, you’ll find TransLink’s services making cameo appearances in movies, television shows, and commercials!

Take a peek at our TransLink in TV & Film and you’ll learn the Canada Line was on The Amazing Race Canada, the West Coast Express was in Fringe, Waterfront Station was in Smallville, West Coast Express platform at Waterfront Station was used to film a Jessica Biel fight scene in Blade Trinity, one of our articulated buses was in the television series Defying Gravity, SkyTrain was in a Vodafone commercial, and much more.

Now, SkyTrain is a star in The CW and CTV’s The Flash television series!

In The Flash‘s heroic trailer (at the 0:25 mark), you can spot the Millennium Line SkyTrain as Flash runs along the fence.

Bill Knight, our resident transit guru, tells us he thinks the scene was filmed in the lot of Vancouver Film Studios’ Soundstage “B” by Boundary Road, adjacent to the Central Valley Greenway, where the Millennium Line guideway elevates to cross over the Trans-Canada Highway.

Will we see Flash riding the busSkyTrain, SeaBus, or West Coast Express any time soon? You never know.

Each year, we receive about 75 to 100 requests to film on our system each year. We try to provide access the best we can, but we can’t accommodate all of them. Filming has to fit within our time restrictions and take place outside of service hours so  our customers are not affected.

With major upgrades underway on the Expo Line, many requests for filming on the SkyTrain system have been unable to go ahead.

Have you spotted us on a television show or film that we haven’t blogged about? Let us know in the comments, tweet us @TheBuzzer, or!

Author: Allen Tung

Transit on film: Amazing Race on the Canada Line

Amazing Race on the Canada Line

Contestants Jody and Cory (not fully in picture) at YVR-Airport Station racing to the Richmond Skating Oval. Check out full episode here (7:40 onwards).

Amazing Race Canada fans know that Vancouver and our very own Canada Line were featured on the second episode of the current season. Airing on July 22, the then eight remaining teams flew to Vancouver from Kelowna for the second leg of the race. Teams had to get from YVR Airport to the Richmond Skating Oval using the Canada Line. As you’ll see, some teams did better than others and one team got off the line a little too early.

TV, film, advertisement and promotional video crews on transit in Metro Vancouver is nothing new. TransLink gets roughly 75 to 100 requests to use the different modes every year. We’ve blogged about Smallville, Fringe, Blade Trinity, Defying Gravity, 21 Jump Street, Atomic Train and others before. Just check out the TransLink in TV & Film category to read them all.

Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate every request to shoot on the system. For large productions, we have to limit access to out of service hours to minimize the impact on our customers. In some cases, that might not be enough time for what their scripts demand. With major upgrades underway for SkyTrain, we’re unable to give the green light to many SkyTrain requests.

With the fall filming season about to get started, you never know where you might see our little slice of Hollywood North next!






Watch for The Buzzer bloggers on CTV Morning Live!

Our very own Robert Willis on CTV this morning!

Just a quick note: did anyone catch Robert on CTV Morning Live this morning?

You weren’t seeing things! A few of your humble Buzzer bloggers will now be providing occasional morning transit updates for the region on TV.

Both Robert and Tina Robinson, another of our Buzzer contributors, will be filling in from time to time when Derek Zabel, TransLink’s regular CTV Live correspondent, needs a much-deserved break.

And if you’d like to keep up, Robert will be on TV again on Monday, December 24, 2012 and Tina will be on Dec 27, 28, and 31, 2012 :) Feel free to drop a note and tell them how great they look on television!

Transit on film: tearing down Smallville!

Smallville set in Burnaby

Superman, where are you?!

The smooth metal claws of a yellow excavator smash the wooden building just feet away from the news station. Onlookers watch powerlessly as the yellow mechanical behemoth surveys the normally quaint town for a new victim to smash into a thousand pieces. Will Camero Jewelers or the delightful Brasserie Georgina be the next to suffer at the bucket of the unstoppable digger of destruction? Wait, why is this charming street  being demolished anyway? And what news outlet is the “news station”?

As some of you may have noticed from your seats on the Expo Line/Millennium Line these last few weeks, the set of the popular TV show Smallville is being torn down. Yes, the ten-year run of Clark, Lois, and Lex finished in May 2011. Burnaby’s Beresford Street has been one of many locations used in Metro Vancouver and BC for the popular program. Check out this past post of Waterfront Station/Metropolis International Airport.

If you have a favorite view from transit (SkyTrain, Bus, SeaBus, West Coast Express) drop me a note at I might just make a blog post about it! Thanks to my colleague at SkyTrain for snapping these pictures of Smallville, Kansas… er Burnaby.

Another Smallville set shot in Burnaby

I wonder what a place above the restaurant would cost?

Transit on film: Fringe

A scene from the Fringe episode "White Tulip" was shot aboard a West Coast Express train! Publicity still from Fox found via IGN.

Joshua Jackson investigates! A scene from the Fringe episode White Tulip was shot aboard a West Coast Express train. Publicity still from Fox found via IGN.

Turns out Fringe, one of the American sci-fi shows filmed in Vancouver, hopped aboard the West Coast Express in one of its recent episodes.

Look for “White Tulip,” which is episode 18 from Fringe’s second season. Several scenes were shot on board a West Coast Express train, where a character with time-travelling powers mysteriously wipes out everyone on board. (Ooohhh!)

I’m told by West Coast Express that the Fringe crew filmed on the train over at the Main St. VIA yard – they used our car for all the interiors and regular VIA equipment for the rest. It took them the better part of a week to film it!

Check out the episode preview, or watch the full episode at

And see the TransLink in TV & Film category for more of Vancouver transit on the silver screen!

Transit on film: Smallville!

Smallville is well known for filming here in Vancouver… so did you ever see the episode featuring Waterfront Station?

You may not have recognized it — it’s disguised as “Metropolis International Airport” in this angst-ridden clip. Poor old Clark, dropping that white rose outside the station… I mean, airport!

Transit on film: Blade Trinity

Vampires at Waterfront? Well, just for a few days in 2004.

Blade Trinity, the third movie in the vampire/Marvel Comics/action series, filmed a vampire fight scene on the West Coast Express platform at Waterfront.

Watch the clip above to see Jessica Biel battle it out with the bloodsuckers! (WARNING: There’s a very clear swear word in the clip, if that bothers you!)

You’ll notice that the West Coast Express signage isn’t hidden at all in the scene—there’s a clear shot of the Waterfront station sign, and the train itself even shows up.

Kyla, the West Coast Express staffer who supervised the filming, said the whole thing was great fun. The shoot extended over several days, and the scenes were done many times.

“Of course they do things in bits and pieces,” she said, “so it wasn’t until the movie came out that we understood that the little piles of ashes burning on the platform were actually people she had incinerated.” Movie magic, I guess!

Transit on film: Defying Gravity

A TransLink articulated bus, all dolled up for its scene in Defying Gravity.

A TransLink articulated bus, all dolled up for its scene in Defying Gravity.

So it turns out TransLink buses have two scenes in the third episode of Defying Gravity, CTV/ABC/BBC’s new space drama! Thanks to Brandon for pointing this out.

Another view of our bus on set.

Another view of our bus on set.

I can’t embed the clips here, but I can direct you to CTV’s online player.

Click here to open the player loaded with episode three, “Threshold.” It will start up with clip 1 of 5: go to the 6:14 mark to catch the first bus scene.

There, Laura Harris and Ron Livingston have a talk about their relationship on one of our new articulated buses with the fuzzy seats! Also, it seems the green screen above was just to show extremely fast scenery going by.

For the second scene, go to clip 4 of 5 and you’ll see a TransLink bus pick up Laura Harris at around 1:52. You can watch the first two minutes for the full context of the scene if you like. But it’s very important to note that you can see the Buzzer box in the bus for like half a second! Woo!

Transit on film: 21 Jump Street

A classic clip: Rob Chew passed along the intro to season 4 of 21 Jump Street, which features a Flyer trolley bus (“14 Hastings”) and a Flyer diesel bus passing by an Army & Navy store. As well, the clip’s got Johnny Depp and a killer theme song! Thanks Rob!

(By the way, it’s been confirmed by several people that a CMBC bus can be seen in ABC’s new series Defying Gravity. Can anyone point me to a clip online? I haven’t managed to catch it yet.)

Remember, you can see all of the past transit on film posts in our TransLink in TV & Film category. Make sure to check out the Incredible Hulk menacing Burrard Station!

Transit on film: Atomic Train

Some Monday film fun! Thanks to Bryan for pointing out this clip of a West Vancouver Blue Bus in the TV movie Atomic Train. (The bus can be seen at 3:45 in the clip.)

Atomic Train is from 1999 so I don’t have any info on the film shoot, as I don’t know who was handling the film requests at that time. But just look at how young Mena Suvari is! And Charlotte from Sex & the City plays her mom!

Bryan also mentioned that Look Who’s Talking filmed some clips on Vancouver transit way back when too. Has anyone seen transit-related clips from that film? I’d love to see Travolta or Kirstie Alley or that wacky baby riding a trolley :)

PS: Just a reminder that I’m collecting fun summer trips via transit and more for the July print Buzzer! Submit your vacation hotspot and I’ll try to get as many of them as I can into the Buzzer!

Transit on film: Seat Ibiza car commercial

Here’s a commercial for a Spanish compact car Seat Ibiza, shot partly on a Mark I SkyTrain at Waterfront Station in 2006.

First, I don’t speak Spanish so I’m wondering how the polar bear concept relates to the car in question. Could anyone enlighten us on what they’re saying in the ad?

Second: why yes, that is a polar bear in Waterfront Station! Bill Knight, whose many duties include managing film requests and supervising film shoots on our property, has a story to tell about that.

Read more »

Transit on film: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk

Well, this might be the best transit-on-film clip yet —- reader ;-) posted this clip from the Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV movie, shot on a Mark I SkyTrain & inside Granville Burrard Station in the late 80s.

There is one word for this: awesome. Thank you to ;-) for digging this up!

(Also, I have no detail on how this sequence was done, because I don’t know who was in charge of film shoots in the late 80s! If more info gets dredged up I’ll share — and feel free to share any details you might know too.)

Transit on film: Paycheck

All right, for Monday, here’s a fun item to start your week off.

Paycheck wasn’t exactly Ben Affleck’s finest two hours on film (that was Gigli, right?). But what it does have to offer is extended sequences involving elements of Vancouver transit :)

Hit 1:46 on this trailer and you’ll see Ben running between two of our articulated old MCI Classic buses. Close to the end of the trailer, you’ll also see Ben make a narrow escape from an oncoming SkyTrain.

The buses were shot downtown, and some of the SkyTrain filming was done in Burrard Station. Note that I say “some” and not “all” — the SkyTrain action sequence was actually done in a studio. Here’s the full story from Bill Knight, who, among other things, manages our film requests and supervised the Paycheck shoot on our property.

Ben was actually not present for the scene in the station, it was his double – who really does look like him. The scene of him being chased by a train was shot on a local sound stage, not at SkyTrain. This was a question of time available, safety and logistics. The shots would take too much time within the station – needing multiple nights of filming. We couldn’t have filmed anyways as you would have live power for a moving train. A moving train would have presented too much risk to the actor as well. Logistically it wouldn’t work because there are communications cables in the track area you could trip over plus the LIM reaction rail in the center of the track (which isn’t in their studio version of SkyTrain).

The train is authentic; well at least the first two feet or so! The production company was able to acquire a Mark II end cap for their mockup. In effect, Ben is being menaced by a two-foot long piece of fibreglas with car headlights added! The end of the train used to sit outside in the Vancouver Film Studios yard, visible by trains using the Millennium Line.

Bill also pointed out that this trailer doesn’t contain one crucial scene of Ben sitting at the back of a bus, in which to his immediate left sits a small black and white box marked “The Buzzer”! :)

SkyTrain in a Vodafone ad

Vodafone Stadium from Laurent MAKOWSKI on Vimeo.

A few days ago, I posted a clip of Granville Station in the TV show Caprica. So I thought I’d continue with another TV spot showing the SkyTrain: a Vodafone ad from Europe that was shot in Vancouver last year.

The SkyTrain was shot near Stadium Station, and I actually had the fine privilege of supervising this shoot in the wee hours of the morning :)