Contributor Angie C, who has done such wonderful work on the Pemberton set locations, has forwarded the second of a series of articles about the status of the locations used in Vancouver for The X-Files. – Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe
Article by Angie C.
I had a bit of a 'thrill of a lifetime' moment yesterday when I got a call and was asked if I'd be available for some work that had come up. The clincher for me was the location--none other than Riverview Hospital, site of so many X-Files episodes including I Want To Believe. It was like being on hallowed ground, so to speak; of course I said, yes!
Riverview's old, unoccupied buildings are a favourite choice for many productions. The old buildings are used extensively, often for hospital scenes, but the creativity of the art, set and production team are the only limits. Then there is the creep factor. There are those who believe the old buildings are haunted. Even those who don't believe in ghosts feel that the buildings are somewhat creepy--particularly when they are alone, late at night, wrapping up after a day's work.
I've only a picture of the building located on the East Lawn, as taking pictures is not actually allowed on the grounds. The hospital is still in use and residents often walk the roadways located by the empty buildings. On this particular day, no one was around as the building was being used for the production, so I felt it was okay for me to snap a couple of photographs.
The interior is one of the hallways. My apologies for the less than excellent quality. I got the okay to use my cell phone for the shot.
The Cassandra House from "Demons" (4x23) and "A Christmas Carol" (5x6) is located in my old (and favourite) neighbourhood and the house was one I loved. I spent a lot of time walking in this neighbourhood, but we had moved on by the time The X-Files rolled into town and used it for the episode. The steps and porch area are still painted blue, a feature that is clearly seen in the episode.
The Westward Inn was used for "Revelations" (3x11).
The famous (well, famous to X-Philes the world over) Barbecue Scene in "Red Museum" (2x10)--the one where Mulder wipes the sauce from Scully's face--was filmed in Ladner. Uncle Herbert's Fish and Chips is now a Mexican/Texan/Southwest style eatery.
We decided to eat there, as we were able to sit in the same area they used in the shoot. No, I didn't order ribs--I don't 'do' ribs, though they were on the menu.
Both "Nisei" and "731" made use of the train tracks that run through West Vancouver up through Squamish and beyond. Port au Cove, located along the Sea to Sky highway, is located between Lions Bay and Britannia Beach. The Sea to Sky corridor is one of the more dangerous routes, known to experience the occasional rockslide. The most recent one, by Port au Cove, occurred in 2008, and shut down the highway for a few days. I remember it well as my daughter, who lives in the Whistler area, was scheduled to leave for the camp she volunteers at, the next day. A boat was dispatched to pick up the volunteers just north of the slide, and the camp was saved.
The area, like many of the locations used by The X-Files, has seen changes in landscape due to the growth of plants and trees as well as construction and changes in ownership that have cordoned off areas.
For some strange reason, I forgot to include the "Kill Switch" swinging bridge shots in the last article. I've included them here. We just happened to be there when the bridge was turning to let a tugboat through.
In "F. Emasculata" (2x22) they used a gas station located in a rural area of Delta. Like many stores and pit stops in these areas, the station is now no longer used as such. Thankfully, the building itself still stands, though what it will end up being used for is anyone's guess. It is now behind a fence and someone appeared to be doing some sort of construction work on the interior when we stopped by.
The Wisteria Cottage from "Demons" (4x23) is no longer. It was an old house, in poor repair and I imagine fairly unsafe, considering the condition it was in. You can still see where it stood and the tree seen in the episode still stands.
"Schizogeny" (5x09) made use of something we grow around here--nuts--hazelnuts. The grove used covers two pieces of property, split down the middle by the road.
"Post Modern Prometheus" is often cited as a favourite episode by many Philes. The episode is beautifully filmed with a story line that is classic X-Files from the opening shot to the ending dance scene. It is also one of my favourites and as such, I will dedicate the last bit of this second article to locations used in the episode.
Polledori's house is known as the Burr house--the area is called Burrvilla--and was built in 1906 by the Burr family. The house was granted heritage status sometime in the late 70s or early 80s and was moved to its present location when the new highway went in.
At the time of filming, the home was used as a craft store. Those of you who went to craft fairs and stores that sold the same in the 90s (*cough* I just may have attended one or two), will note the 'lavish' albeit somewhat tacky over-the-top decorations that the set decorators used in the house--citing the original set-up as inspiration. *ouch*
The winding roadway in front of the house is seen in the episode as well, so I've included a couple of shots.
Muskrat Meadow Group Camp Site was the area where the peanut butter sandwich was set up as bait to catch the Great Mutato. Although the trees are a few years older and bigger, the site is much the same.
The barn used in this episode was torn down along with the Read House (pictures are in the last article). It is truly unfortunate that the Read property and buildings were not preserved.
The post office in the town Ladner, BC, was used for the scene where Izzy is accused of being the monster.
Some of the interiors for the diner were shot in Fort Langley's original 50s diner, Cafe Planet Java. The owner even has a signed picture of David and Gillian up over the doorway and has told me as much. The jukeboxes at the tables are real and if you like burgers, I'm told they are excellent, though they don't serve fries.
The one thing I've not been able to find, despite asking the "old timer" locals and heritage society members in both Ladner and Fort Langley, is the building used for all the exteriors of the diner and some of the interiors. There are buildings which have been taken down in the area, and one old diner, which may have been the site for the rest of the shots, is no longer around.
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Interview with Matt Hurwitz
Pemberton Set Report
Paley Festival Interviews
Interview with John S. Bartley
Report from Wondercon 2008
Interview with Howard Gordon
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Interview with Doug Hutchison
Interview with Frank Spotnitz