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X-Files, Dark Angel, X-Men 2: BC Hydro assets play starring role

Image of the former Grandview Substation under wraps for filming the Vancouver-shot show, Supernatural
In 2013 alone, BC Hydro's Grandview Substation was used a filming location for Supernatural, Arrow, The 100 and Almost Human.

Substations, dams and other BC Hydro locations have long history in film & TV

Turbines generating electricity bring movies and TV shows to life for billions of viewers all over the world. But did you know that BC Hydro's assets — dams, turbines, generating stations and substations  — often appear in Hollywood films and TV series as well?

In the eyes of many film directors, our substations, plants, dams — and even our parking lots and warehouses — are ideal locations for movies, television, and commercials. Subject to meeting BC Hydro's operational and safety requirements, we enter into short term film licence agreements with major studios including Disney, Universal, MGM, Warner and Lions Gate.

"One of the major benefits derived from licensing BC Hydro facilities for filming is job creation for British Columbians," said Reagan Stinson, manager of property leasing and sales for BC Hydro. "A typical filming period (up to seven days) could employ up to 300 local, film-related workers.

"In addition, film companies often repair, paint and cleanup our facilities. The rental received is a good source of revenue for BC Hydro and can be used to offset property taxes and general maintenance costs."

History of filming at BC Hydro began in 1980s

Hollywood-based filming in the Lower Mainland began to take off in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Until that point, it was very occasional and took place mostly in scenic rural areas, such as the Rockies.

But once the Canadian dollar decreased relative to the American dollar, it became more cost-effective to film here. Filmmakers discovered that we had more to offer than the Rockies.

Links to filming at BC Hydro began in the early 1980s with two films shot at the then BC Hydro-owned Dominion Bridge property located in central Burnaby: Mother Lode (1981) and Runaway (1983). Over the past 20 years, production companies have filmed scenes at BC Hydro locations throughout the Lower Mainland for television shows and feature films, such as The X- Files, Dark Angel, Smallville, Sliders, and Alien vs. Predator.

Buntzen and Alouette Lake, the former Grandview Substation and the former Lower Mainland Control Centre properties are now on the radar of production companies, especially for action filming. Grandview filming projects in 2013 were: Supernatural, Arrow, The 100 and Almost Human.

Spot BC Hydro in these shows and movies

Wondering where you might have seen BC Hydro on film? Next time you're watching one of these, keep a sharp eye out for BC Hydro locations:

Image of Smallville filming an episode at Ruskin Dam, near Mission
Ruskin Dam is a favourite for the producers of several TV series, including Smallville and MacGyver. This is a still from the filming of a Smallville episode at the Mission-area dam.
  • Annacis Island Substation
    • Fringe episode #404 — "Subject 9"
  • H-Frames in downtown Vancouver
    • The NeverEnding Story, 5.5 minutes in, Trounce Alley in Gastown
  • Buntzen Lake
    • Cedar Cove
  • Burrard Thermal Generation Station
    • Alien vs. Predator