X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

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Vancouver, 25 years later!

No X-Files fan experience can be complete without a pilgrimage to where the series was shot!

Well, maybe these are strong words. You might not want to know too much about how the show was made, it might lose its magic. If the XF-vibe is not there, don’t blame Vancouver! Truth be told, the cinematographers and set designers had an important role to play, and visiting shooting locations after the fact may be underwhelming.

My travels recently took me to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where The X-Files‘ most memorable period was shot, seasons 1-5, so much so that it returned there for I Want To Believe and seasons 10-11; and where the other Ten Thirteen series were shot too, in particular Millennium. The (amateur) photos below are the result.

Past X-philes have done similar pilgrimages! A shout out to some favourites, that complete this article: TempusFugit; InvisiGoth; Fangirlquest.

If you ever plan to do something similar, here are some tips:

  • Plan your trip! “X Marks the Spot”, written by the series’ location managers Todd Pittson and Louisa Gradnitzer, will be your Bible (also, look at vintage fan sites X-Town or XF Marks The Spot, or Movie Maps). Placing your locations on Google Maps will help. For this, I am sharing here my X-Files Filming Locations map to you!
  • Take into account travelling time! Traffic is a big, big issue, and distances that might look like next door will take time. You might end up spending a large part of your day between locations. And so, due to time constraints, honourable highlights that are absent below are the Ascension cable car, the Anasazi quarry, the Paper Clip Strughold mines, or the Patient X Ruskin dam.
  • Don’t go during the summer! When you think XF you think fog, rain, clouds, that moody atmosphere. In summer you will have sunlight and no rain (that’s very obvious when you watch season 10, unfortunately). And if you’re not lucky you will also have smoke from forest fires, which blows in the area and limits visibility dramatically! Unfortunately this was my case.
  • Not everything is accessible! The XF crew had privileged access to location to do their work, obviously. Some locations are private properties (Mulder’s father’s house, or the Mulders’ summer cottage). Many locations have restricted access only to people working there (like the Anasazi quarry, or the place where the train car blows up in 731, or the ending to EBE, or many of the docks locations). Some might be restricted because filming is taking place there, again (North Shore Studios of course, and filming often takes place in Riverview Hospital). Obviously, many interiors are completely out of reach. Choose your locations with that knowledge.
  • Not everything exists anymore! As much as 25 years have passed, and things change. Some places have been renovated and are still themselves, like the mining museum from Paper Clip; some places have just changed owners and look different, like the Washington diner where Skinner is shot in Piper Maru (now a fancy gourmet restaurant), the pub where Ed Jerse and Scully flirt in Never Again (now a well lit bakery-café), or the café where Mulder meets Samantha in Redux (now a photocopy shop); and some places are just gone, like the roadside diner from the end of Eve or the train building Mulder observes the Japanese scientists from in Nisei ! And this will be more and more the case as time passes.

We are reminded of the weight of time that passes as The X-Files celebrates its 25th anniversary. A quarter century has flown by and the world is certainly a different place from what it was, in so many aspects. The X-Files has definitely hit that transition point between “recent and fesh but not quite new” to “something from a generation ago and just fondly remembered”. I wish I could say that at least, paraphrasing Casablanca, “we’ll always have Vancouver” to “remember how it all was“; but Vancouver too is changing, as do all things. Still, there’s a lot still there!

So see for yourself below, 1993-1998 versus 2018. The Vancouver area is separated in sections — The city, The suburbs, The docks, The woods — and do read the captions.

The city


The suburbs


The docks


The woods




Happy 25th anniversary, The X-Files!