Where is ‘Virgin River’ filmed?

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With a happy combination of all-American values, will-they-won’t-they romance and back-to-nature scenery, Netflix’s Virgin River has proved such a hit that the show has returned to Netflix for a second season.

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Based on the 20-strong book series by Robyn Carr, season two follows nurse Melinda ‘Mel’ Munroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), her ‘will-they-won’t they’ relationship with Jack, and life in the laid-back small town of the title.

In the books, Virgin River is specifically placed in northern California, among redwoods, waterfalls and good fishing. While sticking to a similar palette, the TV version is rather more evasive – and for good reason, since it’s made a long way from the Golden State. In fact, this is Hollywood North, the new filming centre that has sprung up around the Canadian city of Vancouver over the past two decades. It’s here that other all-American shows such as Netflix’s own Riverdale, The Flash and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are filmed, as well as buckets of sci-fi and fantasy from Caprica and Stargate SG-1 to Fringe and Supernatural.

Although variety is one of the area’s attractions for film-makers, one of the key locations in Virgin River may be familiar to viewers. Mel’s waterside cabin, to which she reacts with big-city horror on arrival, is the well-photographed caretaker’s house in Murdo Frazer Park, on Vancouver’s North Shore. Built in the 1950s, it’s become a screen staple, seen in everything from Fringe and Once Upon A Time to Fairly Legal, Siren, Travelers and The Flash. You’ll find it at the centre of this green space, which is urban enough to have a pitch and putt course but sufficiently country to be home to wandering bears.

  • Where is Virgin River filmed?

    For Mel’s place of work, you have to travel south-east of Vancouver to New Westminster (pictured). The clinic where she works for the cantankerous Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson) is at 122 First Street, in a Queen Anne-style five-bedroom mansion built for banking grandee George Bremner in 1889. Known as Breezehurst, it was home to its own speakeasy in Prohibition times, and has sealed its fame with previous appearances in Caprica, Supernatural and Jinxed.

    Pictured: New Westminster

  • Where is Virgin River filmed?

    Jack’s Bar, where Mel makes a connection with owner Jack (Martin Henderson), is the Watershed Grill in Brackendale, 40 miles north of Vancouver. Although the interiors are studio-bound, the venue has the same spectacular views, overlooking the Squamish River, and is a popular point for eagle-spotting. The town of Squamish, a little south, is another popular filming location, having featured in The Man In The High Castle and last year’s The Twilight Zone reboot. We also visit Shannon Falls (pictured), a 1,000ft waterfall, situated a little south of the city.

    Pictured: Shannon Falls

  • Where is Virgin River filmed?

    One area we see a good deal of is Burnaby (pictured), in the eastern part of Vancouver, where woods and water sit alongside skyscrapers. We’re in Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park, on the banks of the Fraser River, for Paige’s Bakeaway food truck, while the home of Virgin River mayor Hope McCrea (Annette O’Toole) is close to Deer Lake Park, at Deer Lake Drive.

    Pictured: Burnaby

  • Where is Virgin River filmed?

    For establishing shots of the town, meanwhile, the production picked up typical small-town scenes in the region. The ‘Welcome to Virgin River’ sign seen in the first episode was shot on Pioneer Avenue in Agassiz, 75 miles east of Vancouver. Hollywood North returned here last year to shoot a pilot for a show called Republic of Sarah, starring Martin Henderson’s former Grey’s Anatomy colleague Sarah Drew, and it previously featured in 2015 Twin Peaks-like show Wayward Pines. Virgin River also shot on the streets of Snug Cove on Bowen Island (pictured), north-west of Vancouver, location for films including Mel Gibson comedy Bird On A Wire (1990), the ill-fated remake of The Wicker Man (2006) and horror The Uninvited (2009).

    Pictured: Snug Cove on Bowen Island

  • Where is Virgin River filmed?

    For a pair of one-off locations in Episode 7, the show headed to Port Coquitlam on the eastern outskirts of Vancouver. You’ll see it when Jack shares bad news with Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) at her hairdressing salon, In A Wink Boutique on Shaughnessy Street, shortly after he plays pinball with Mel in Samz Neighbourhood Pub on Elgin Avenue. In Episode 9, meanwhile, the pair visit Steveston harbour in Richmond (pictured), on the Fraser River, to admire the boats and eat at the high-end Arthur’s, really seafood tavern The Crab King in disguise.

    These, though, are just details. We should all bear in mind what Robyn Carr herself said when asked about the real location of Virgin River. ‘People always write and say, “Where is it? I want to go there.” And I have to remind them that it only exists in our hearts and minds,’ she told Entertainment Weekly. ‘All we have to do is try to create it.’

    ‘Virgin River’ Season 1 is streaming on Netflix

    Pictured: Steveston harbour

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