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X-Files Fun - Part 1

Contributor Angie C, who has done such wonderful work on the Pemberton set locations, has forwarded the first of a series of articles about the status of the locations used in Vancouver for the X-Files.
Page Editor: XScribe

A site searching adventure

Article by Angie C.

During the first week of September, 1993, my husband mentioned a new show debuting later that week, one he thought I might like. The X Files, he explained, was a new science fiction show, exactly the kind of show I liked. He provided a synopsis of the pilot episode and it sounded interesting. With three young children, all busy with some combination of sports and school, it sounded like a good way to unwind after the kids were in bed, 9:00, Friday night.

There isn't a way, 17 years ago, we could have anticipated the impact the X Files would have, nor did we anticipate the staying power of the series. Add to that equation the internet in it's infancy--some say the show and the internet formed a holy alliance that defined the way this fan base and others to come were created--the incredible loyalty of the fans, and we have a phenomena rivaled by few others.

It is a testament to the calibre of the production--and of course those involved with it's creation and execution--that 17 years later fans are still enamored with the actual filming sites to the point where trips are planned around site tours. There is no shortage of local fans willing to rearrange schedules to accommodate "Philes" visiting from all corners of the world to visit Vancouver, the city that became a character in it's own right through the first five seasons of the show.

Some areas used for filming no longer exist, and while some look mostly the same, many have had a facelift, paint job, or name change. Other areas have matured, and trees which may have been young saplings now boast 17 years of growth. However we find the conditions of the original locations, there is no denying the feeling one gets when standing in an area where the X Files filmed. Awestruck.

Onto the fun:

Mulder & Scully's very first motel stop was at the Cedar Lane Motel, located on the border between White Rock and Surrey. I had a brief chat with the Assistant Manager who clearly recalled both times the production used the motel. She remembers how nice everyone was, and how much fun it was to be part of the X Files.

The motel was used for both the Pilot episode (1x79) and Demons (4x23). Mulder was in room #5; Scully was in room #4.

Deep Throat (1x01) featured yet another motel, The Beach Grove Motel, located in Tsawwassen. Scully's room was #4.

While they were there, they also used the track at South Delta Secondary School, which happens to be right behind a friends house. She remembers when they set up there to film as they were right behind her house.

The Boundary Bay Airport stood in for Ellens Air Base, and became a favourite filming location for the crew. The airport has gone through a number of changes over the years.

The area was and remains a favourite filming site. There are a number of roads--it's like driving a maize--and large open fields. Many of the areas used in filming are behind the gates and wire enclosure, which of course means we are not able to access the actual location. Also, the number of new buildings and improvements means many of the original locations do not exist anymore. The hangar, however, has been declared a heritage building and remains the same.

It appears that the area where Mulder parked his car once existed along this stretch, however there is a new building--and security! They were most curious about our activity, but once they determined we were not a threat, left us alone.

My pictures were taken from the access road outside the fenced-off area housing the hanger and airstrips. The episode shots were filmed from inside, on the opposite (south) side of the hangar. The perimeter fence would have been very handy to keep 'lookey-loos' out and ensure integrity in the filming process.

This area was used for a number of episodes including: Fresh Bones (2x15); Colony (2x16); D.P.O. (3x03); Syzygy (3x13); Apocrypha (3x16); El Mundo Gira (4x11); Tempus Fugit (4x17); Max (4x18); Kill Switch (5x11).

A short history of the airport can be found here or here. Waite Air Photo has some aerial shots of the airport.

The Read house was used as the location of the T3 connection Mulder finds in Kill Switch (5x11). The barn that once existed on the property were also used as the location of Old Man Pollidori's home in Post Modern Prometheus (5x06).

The house itself was known as the Read house. Over 100 years old, it was in poor condition when the production used it and hadn't fared much better in the ensuing time. According to the local historical society, no one wanted to take on the restoration, thus the house was never granted heritage status. It was taken down sometime in the last two years, and the barn appears to have been gone much longer than that.

The pictures show the site location, and the google map pictures provided show the house as it sat roughly one or two years ago.

Hydro lines are much more difficult to uproot, so the poles used to string the fake T3 connections are still there.

The location for the Strughold Mining Company was an old mine along the Sea to Sky highway, just outside of Squamish, BC, in the small community of Britannia Beach.

The building is now the BC Museum of Mining and it's undergone a restoration since it was used for the episode Paper Clip (3x02). We had occasion to make a yearly trip to Squamish for a soccer tournament and watched the old mine become more dilapidated with each passing year. Sometime in the last few years it was restored and opened as a tourist facility.

The city of White Rock, located in South Surrey, can be seen in the pilot episode, standing in as Bellefleur, Oregon, as Mulder and Scully drive into town. The caption reads, "Coastal Northwest." At least in this case, the caption is true!

The Seacrest Motel was used for the episode Eve (1x10), rooms 2 and ??? They either reversed the location of the office in the episode--erecting a fake facade, or had the car come from the far end of the complex so it appears to come in from the street with the office behind it. The actual office is on the South side of the property--across from the rooms. With a very attentive individual at the front desk.

The cafe that Mulder and Scully take the girls to was a coffee shop and part of the Old Mill. The site now houses a Washington grill restaurant and an exceptional Indian restaurant, while the coffee shop used for the episode, located around the back, houses a tattoo parlor.

The parking lot that became a truck stop.

Humbug was filmed at Memorial Camp, White Rock, which is close to the border; you can walk along the beach from the Canadian side to the American side. If you do, make sure you've got your ID with you. A friend used to walk along the beach down there and once she wandered onto US sand. As she was out for a walk, she had nothing with her--and the US border guard wasn't letting her go without making sure she wasn't a fugitive. She had to have her mother in law bring her ID across the line to get back home. So much for a nice walk along the sea.

The Kindred (Genderbender, 1x13) found their home in South Langley at Campbell Valley Park. The Rowlatt Farm is a heritage site, and the filming date coincided with a downpour of rain--you can hear the rain at some points in the episode.

This shot is courtesy of "E" who thought we should have a picture of the spot where Scully threw-up. She provided an accurate reenactment of the scene, joined by "M" who provided Mulder's lines flawlessly. She does that from time to time--launches into lines from a film. It's quite entertaining. Just don't get her going on Top Gun.

The Flying Saucer Diner, Deep Throat (1x01) is none other than the Hilltop Diner, a small coffee house along Fraser Highway in Langley. It has a narrow strip of asphalt that serves as a parking lot and the use of the restaurant ends up as a one shot deal for many productions due to parking and traffic issues.

The Thomas Joseph Brown house was used for both Aubrey (2x12)--and one of my personal fvourites--Home (4x03). This house turns up quite often in productions filmed around the area such as Supernatural and Fringe.

Stay tuned for part 2!

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