Fairytales are one of the earliest forms of storytelling, from the Brothers Grimm to Arabian Nights to Hans Christian Andersen. Early spoken tales of folklore have transformed in the modern day to a massive industry in film and TV. Once Upon a Time is just one of those shows, featuring many fairytale characters living in the town of Storybrooke. Good news for anyone who’s a fan of the show – you can visit Storybrooke! It’s filmed in British Columbia and Miranda is here to tell you all about it!
Steveston (aka Storybrooke)
Near Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Literary significance of Steveston (aka Storybrooke)
Once Upon A Time is a popular TV series, now running for 7 seasons. This show spins off popular fairytale characters we all know and love, placing them in a modern day setting. Although Once Upon A Time is supposed to be set in a place called Storybrooke in Maine, the series is actually mostly shot near Vancouver, Canada, in a town called Steveston.
Many of the characters are from the classic Grimm Fairy Tales, first published in 1812. Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, and many more are in the show, and we get to see them in a whole new light with unexpected storylines. J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Captain Hook from his play and novel, written back in the early 1900s are also adapted within this series.
Aside from the classic fairytale friends, they are also mixed in with more modern characters from recent Disney movies, such as Elsa from Frozen creating some interesting dynamics and stories.
Visiting Steveston (aka Storybrooke)
Steveston welcomes tourists who want to check out their favourite filming spots. The Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre (a filming location in itself!) offers a free map for tourists to guide themselves in their own walking tour of the town and its Storybrooke filming locations.
If you get lucky, you can even watch them film the series, or at least see the town transformed into Storybrooke, with signs plastered over local businesses to match the series.
Steveston is a great place to spend a day. With or without location hunting, it really is a picturesque little town bursting with character and activities.
Cost? Free! All you need is some good walking shoes 🙂
Photography? Most of the businesses in the area are used to tourists visiting the popular filming locations and taking photographs.
Public transport? Sadly, Canada typically doesn’t have the best public transport. If you are staying in Vancouver, you can take a train at Waterfront Station downtown, followed by a bus (takes about an hour all together). I would recommend speaking to someone at the train station and planning your journey ahead of time, or driving if you have a rental car.
Location? Grab some food at either The Cannery Cafe (aka Granny’s Diner) or Pajo’s Fish and Chips (Storybrooke Fish and Chips) so you can enjoy a meal whilst checking out a filming location!
Weather-dependent? The Vancouver area in any season excluding summer usually means rain. Bring an umbrella and some waterproof shoes to make sure your visit to Storybrooke stays a success!
Written by Miranda Menelaws from Miranda Muses
Miranda Menelaws is a Canadian freelance writer and blogger. During her spare time, she can be found travelling the globe in search of a new story to tell.
Now you have plenty of information on how to visit Storybrooke for real next time you’re in the Vancouver area! Thanks again to Miranda for being a guest blogger 🙂
On a more generic topic, what’s your favourite fairytale? Is it linked to a real world destination? Tell me in the comments! Mine has to be the fairytales by the Brothers Grimm – I’d love to go wander around Germany’s Black Forest.