If any of you watch the hit TV series “Once Upon a Time” and have wondered if the little town Storybrooke actually exists, I can tell you that it does!
My friends helped me become obsessed with the TV show, and I thought, “what a cute little town”. I was curious as to whether or not the place was real or if the whole thing was shot in a studio. Well it turns out if you go to this little town called Steveston in Richmond BC, you can walk the same streets as your favourite characters from the show.
My best friend and I decided to go along with my boyfriend; the drive was about an hour and a half from Coquitlam. When we got there, there was free parking-which is always a bonus because parking is just so expensive these days. We turned the corner and BAM there was Storybrooke right smack in our faces. Now the town itself is a town that looks stuck in time, an old small village that everybody knows everyone. It has that feeling of home around it. Everyone was so polite and the locals when they saw us said you must be here to visit Storybrooke. The long main street looked exactly the same. I honestly thought I was on the show, and was going to see Captain Hook walking down the street. They had the Storybrooke bakery, the post office, the famous public library, Mr.Golds Pawnshop, and of course, Granny’s.
I actually went and asked the locals, Mr. Gold’s Pawn shop used to be there permanently but due to them shooting most of season three away from the town it had cost the production too much money to keep it so unfortunately when you go in, it’s not the true Pawn Shop but the sign is still on the windows. Apparently a day before shooting the production team comes in and puts up all the signs, and turns it into Storybrooke and yes! The businesses are open while filming, so if you are ever there you are allowed to watch them film which is pretty amazing. In addition the famous clock tower that you all love from the show is actually not there. The clock is all computerized but the building/public library is there for you to take pictures with it and everything. Once they are down filming all the signs are taken down and it turns back into Steveston. That was the only real disappointment because for example when we went to Granny’s it looked like Granny’s but the actually Granny’s sign was under the real business sign. But over all the experience was really cool. You are allowed to take pictures with all the businesses and go inside to check them out, so don’t feel shy, go and have fun exploring your favourite places.
Now if you ever wanted to go to the Town Hall/ Regina’s office, that is in a different location, but still in BC so don’t panic! If you go to Fort Langley you will find the Fort Langley town hall, which is the same yellow building as Storybrooke’s. Unfortunately when we went it was closed, we did not get the opportunity to go inside.
Also if you are dying to go take a look at Emma’s Sheriff’s Office you can drive down to Lynn Valley in North Shore and go to the Lynn Valley’s library there you will recognize Emma’s office. But what’s even more exciting is when you go inside you will find the sets for Emma’s office, the actual jail cell that has held basically everyone in the show, a hospital room which Prince Charming was kept in, and the insane asylum that kept Belle locked up for 28 years! Although the sets are closed off to the public, you are allowed to catch glimpses of these sets, and once again if they are ever shooting you are more than welcome to watch.
One last famous location, Madame Mayors house … I was dying to take a look at the exterior of this grand home and discovered it was only 15 minutes from my house. If you drive to New Westminister you can see this Evil Queens mansion. The actual house is a heritage house called the “John H. McDonald house built in 1936. When we arrived I was dying of excitement. We got out of the car and I was taking pictures left right and center. We even got the chance to pretend like we were going to knock on the door.
I had a thrilling day checking out all the hot spots of this fantastic TV Show, so if you are a huge fan such as myself make sure to check out all these spots and who knows you may even get the chance to run into Snow White or the Evil Queen herself!