It’s no secret that Canada has become one of the top destinations for the film industry. Our urban settings can double as Chicago or New York, as seen in Cinderella Man and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Our luscious landscape can be framed as Wyoming or South Dakota in films like Brokeback Mountain and The Revenant. Mean Girls, Hairspray, X Men and more are filled with shots of the true north strong and free (well, not free, but we do have a pretty good film tax credit).
But Canada isn’t only showing up on the big screen. It’s also been the backdrop for many small screen projects.
From sci-fi to Breaker High, here are 10 TV shows you may not have known were filmed in Canada.
Air Date: 2013 – 2017 (All 5 available on CraveTV)
Stars: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Setting: Undisclosed major North American city.
Actual Location: Orphan Black creator Graeme Manson admits that the series is intentionally ambiguous about its setting. While the sci-fi show was shot primarily in Toronto, Manson’s vagueness about its location was done to make Orphan Black appeal to a Canadian, American, and British audience. In the final season of Orphan Black, the character Felix does finally confirm that the series is shot in Canada, but many Canadians and tourists would likely have recognized Toronto long before season five. The show features many famous exterior shots from the downtown core, as well as nearby Markham, where Alison lives. The Don Jail is used for the Dyad Institute, St. Michael’s College on the University of Toronto campus is used for the University of Minnesota, and Mrs. S’s house on Morse St. is recognizable to anyone who has ever watched an episode of Love It or List It on HGTV.
Air Date: 2001 – 2011
Stars: Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum
Setting: Fictional town of Smallville, USA.
Actual Location: Clark Kent saved lives and fell in and out of love during 10 seasons of Smallville while filming throughout the lower mainland of Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta. Lex Luthor’s mansion was the Hatley Castle in Colwood, BC, while Clova Cinemas in Surrey doubled as the exterior shots of the fictional Talon Theatre.
Air Date: 2012 – Now (All 5 seasons available on CraveTV)
Stars: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Willa Holland
Setting: Fictional Starling City, USA.
Actual Location: Arrow is filmed in Vancouver and features famous landmarks not only from the city, but from other series as well. The Hatley Castle used for Lex Luther’s house in Smallville? It’s also the Queen Mansion in Arrow. Filming mainly takes place in downtown Vancouver, as well as Squamish and Coquitlam.
Air Date: 2014 – Now (All 3 seasons available on CraveTV)
Stars: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin
Setting: The fictional Central City, USA.
Actual Location: Shot mainly in Vancouver, The Flash uses Vancouver City Hall as the exterior for the Central City Police Department Headquarters, as well as several locations in Coquitlam, Surrey and North Vancouver. Want to know what it would look like for someone to run as fast as a speeding bullet through downtown Vancouver? Watch The Flash and you’ll soon find out.
21 JUMP STREET
Air Date: 1987 – 1991
Stars: Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Richard Greico
Setting: The fictional US city of Metropolis in the Evergreen State.
Actual Location: The popular late ’80s series was one of the first big budget projects to film in Vancouver, and helped make the city the second Hollywood on the West Coast.
Air Date: 1997 – 1998
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Tyler Labine, Terri Conn
Setting: A cruise ship visiting Caribbean islands.
Actual Location: Breaker High managed to make it to beautiful ports every episode without ever leaving Burnaby, BC. Fans of the series will remember its biggest star, the goofy and lovable Sean, whom we now know as the A-lister Ryan Gosling. The series was a hit with its young audience both in Canada and the US, with high schoolers everywhere asking their parents to send them to school on a cruise ship.
Air Date: 2015 – Now (Seasons 1 & 2 available on CraveTV)
Stars: Aaron Ashmore, Hannah John-Kamen, Luke Macfarlane
Setting: Fictional planet system known as the Quad.
Actual Location: You likely won’t see any famous street corners or monuments in an episode of Killjoys. The series is filmed mainly on a Toronto sound stage, with its trio of bounty hunters finding an audience not only in Canada, but also the US, the UK and Australia.
Air Date: 1993 – 2001
Stars: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny
Setting: The X-Files Office and Quantico.
Actual Location: The first five seasons of the hit sci-fi series The X Files were filmed in Vancouver, with the show moving to Los Angeles for its final seasons.
Air Date: 2004 – 2009
Stars: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park
Setting: The Lost Thirteenth Colony of Earth.
Actual Location: BC residents and visitors may have spotted several filming locations around Vancouver and Burnaby during Battlestar Galactica’s four seasons. The series filmed at Simon Fraser University, Orpheum Theatre, the Port Mann Power Station, the Waterfall Building and more.
Air Date: 2008 – 2013
Stars: Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble
Actual Location: Fans of JJ Abrams’ Fringe may have noticed that the location for the series seemed to change from season to season. The pilot was shot in Toronto, the first season was filmed in New York, and the remaining four seasons were shot in Vancouver. Talk about dramatic.