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Get in the Mood: What to Read and Watch Before Going to Vancouver

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Are you planning on visiting Vancouver soon? To get you started, here are some films, novels, and series set in Vancouver that feature British Columbia at the center of their stories. Enjoy!

A Tale for the Time Being

This is a multifaceted novel by Ruth Ozeki. The story intertwines the lives of Nao, a Japanese teen who contemplates suicide, and Ruth, a B.C. writer who discovers Nao’s journal. The story explores themes of existentialism, the fluidity of time, and the interconnectedness of human lives against the backdrop of contemporary Tokyo and the natural beauty of British Columbia’s coastline.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

In Chef David Chang’s culinary series, a celebrity guest embarks on a gastronomic adventure in their city of choice. This time, actor and comedian Seth Rogen decides to return to his hometown. Menus include street doughnuts, dim sum and Chinese BBQ. In addition to his razor-sharp sense of humor and mouth-watering food, we also get to see an endearing Rogen as he wanders the streets of his childhood. Arguably one of the most mouth-watering series set in Vancouver and a great resource for finding underrated eateries!

Available on Netflix.

Virgin River

Although the popular series takes place on the California coast, Vancouver has its share of iconic sites. In the heart of Murdo Frazer Park is the cottage where Mel sets up home upon his arrival. In Deer Lake Park, you’ll find the mayor’s house. On the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish, the Watershed Grill restaurant by the river is actually Jack Sheridan’s bar.

Available on Netflix.

The Glass Hotel

Let yourself be transported to an island near Vancouver through the words of Emily St. John Mandel. There’s no Internet or cell phone reception here; the Caiette Hotel is a one-of-a-kind, glass-walled establishment where well-heeled guests have a chance to disconnect from reality. The drama begins shortly before the arrival of a wealthy New Yorker, Jonathan Alkaitis, when a sign is engraved on one of the walls of the hotel. It reads: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass“? The plot revolves around the author of this ominous message and the guests whose fates will be changed forever.


The epic film Twilight features a number of breathtaking landscapes, some of which are located in Vancouver. The meeting point of the love triangle (Jacob, Edward and Bella) is at the top of Mount Seymour. David Thompson High School is the setting for several of the saga’s action set pieces. Parthenon Park West is the site of the dramatic scene where Bella jumps off a cliff.

Available on Amazon Prime.

Island of the Sea Wolves

If you love wildlife, this documentary series takes you on an expedition to Vancouver Island in search of the animals that inhabit this extraordinary environment. The ocean’s proximity and temperate climate invite bald eagles, wolves, otters and black bears, among others, to star in these 3 Will Arnett-narrated episodes. A must-see series set in Vancouver Island for nature and animal enthusiasts!

Available on Netflix.

The Adam Project

Quintessential Vancouverite Ryan Reynold unsurprisingly chose his hometown as the backdrop for his latest film project. Featuring many iconic Vancouver landmarks such as UBC, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the Vancouver Aquarium, the movie tells the story of Adam Reed, a pilot who returns to the past to find a missing person. With such a careful eye behind the camera, it’s no surprise that this is one of the best movies set in Vancouver.

Available on Netflix.

The Killing

The riveting crime drama, unfolded its twisted mysteries against the brooding canvas of Vancouver, British Columbia. Although intended to represent Seattle, Vancouver’s moody skies and shadowy landscapes superbly amplified the series’ dark and suspense-filled narrative, adding a unique, atmospheric depth.

Available on Netflix.

The Maid

This Golden Globe-nominated series offers a tender, nuanced look at abusive relationships and stars real-life mother and daughter Andie MacDowell and Margaret Qualley. While it takes place in the state of Washington, Maid was actually shot in Vancouver and includes many familiar locations such as Fernwood Square, the Guild and the Duke Saloon.

Available on Netflix.

The Mother

The brand-new movie starring Jennifer Lopez tells the story of an ex-assassin who emerges from the shadows to protect her daughter from vengeful criminals. The movie was shot almost entirely on location in British Columbia, and many of the most exciting scenes take place in the Vancouver area. You’ll see Nuba in Gastown, the Vancouver Lookout, the International Centre for Contemporary Art and Camp Capilano. These are all places you’ll want to visit when you’re in Vancouver.

Available on Netflix.


The dramedy focused on a young man’s cancer diagnosis was predominantly filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Notable Vancouver locations like Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and various local hospitals are featured, adding a layer of authenticity. The city’s diverse locales served as a versatile backdrop, perfectly capturing the emotional landscape of the story’s highs and lows.

Available on Crave.

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