If you are a DC's superheroes aficionado, you are probably familiar with Robson Square and you don't even know about it. This Downtown plaza is very popular over at CW's production for shooting action sequences.
This Vancouver Plaza was a prominent part of the city ever since it was built in the 1980s. It houses the Provincial Law Courts, some of the government office buildings and partly the University of British Columbia. The plaza includes an outdoor skating ring with a modern glass ceiling in the lower level and three waterfalls that provide natural air-conditioning during hot months. With a marvelous space as this one, it's really no surprise film-makers love the place so much.
Here are the most popular TV show and movies that were filmed at Robson Square since its opening:
- The Flash
- Legends of Tomorrow
- The X-Files
- Shoot to Kill (Deadly Pursuit)
- The Interview
Ladies first, so let's talk about the lady of CW'S DC family who found its home in Vancouver. Supergirl is a story of Kara - Superman's cousin, who was sent to Earth to guide him. By accident she lands way after he becomes a superhero. Not having any obligations to look after him anymore, she got adopted by a nice family, hid her identity and lived a happy life. Until now.
In episode 22 of the second season, Kara has to face a choice: to get rid of all the Daxamites terrorizing the Earth, but sacrifice her boyfriend Mon-El in the process, or let the Daxamites plunder her city while she comes up with a better solution. But it all gets a bit more complicated when Daxamites brainwash her cousin Superman and he tries to kill Kara. Fun, huh?
Their epic fight happens to take place on Robson Square, right in the middle of the fountain. So you have a water-drenched mad Kara Danvers winning over Superman in a blink of an eye because she has no time for distractions. The scene is packed with action to the fullest and Robson Square humbly takes the beating.
His name is Bary Allen and he is the fastest man alive. If you watched at least one episode of the series, you know the drill. He runs fast, his home is Central City and lightning gave him abs once. The Flash (played by Grant Gustin you may know from Glee) is another DC superhero who found his home on CW's network.
The Flash filming in Vancouver is a given by now. They love Vancouver so much, they feature various buildings as re-ocurring sets through the series. Robson Square plays an important part of Flash's home-town Central City as the Central City Square.
In the Christmas episode (2x09) Trickster (played by Star Wars very own Mark Hamill) dresses up as Santa Claus and hands Christmas presents to children at the Central City Square. But they don't call him Trickster for nothing. His neatly wrapped presents turn to be very special. Yes, they were bombs. Before all the happy kids and our beloved Robson Square have a chance to blow up, Flash shows up and saves the day with some help of our favorite anti-hero Lenny Snart. What a champ.
Take a bunch of misfits-turned-superhumans from DC's Flash, put them in a time-travelling spaceship piloted by Arthur Darvill (you may know him as the ever-dying Rory from Doctor Who, but he finally got his own TARDIS here) and you have a perfect group of people for a quirky show. After Avengers' huge success, superhero groups started popping all over the place as DC is trying so hard to have at least one hit in their portfolio of huge misses. But they have yet to succeed.
Legends of Tomorrow is a story about a time agent from the future called Rip Hunter who goes back in time to recruit a very colourful superhero/rogue group to help him save the future and his family. They are travelling back and forth in time while hunting the villain Vandal Savage who wants to take over the world. With a name like that, nobody's surprised. There's something seriously wrong with how they name kids in the future.
Robson Square is featured in the thirteenth episode of the first season. In this episode, the group travels to the future, just before Savage kills Rip's family, and they try to stop him. Needless to say, they don't succeed, since there are more episodes to come. They have a not-so-great time at Robson Square, where Savage is raising an army and giving a very alluring speech. Think 1944 Nazi Germany complete with rows of brain-washed soldiers and an evil man with funny accent screaming into the microphone.
Scully, you are not gonna believe this, but aliens did land in Vancouver! Ok, not quite, but David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson did walk the same path you might be walking on every day on your way to work. X-files is a cult classic about two FBI agents investigating paranormal cases and if you haven't seen any episodes, it's very likely you've been living under a rock.
The series introduced nine seasons running from 1993 to 2002 and later spawned two movies. In 2015 Fox decided to bring back the beloved characters with season 10 and revive the old filming locations in Vancouver which appeared in the early seasons of the show.
Scully meets her old colleague Monica Reyes in the last episode of season 10 at Robson Square which in this case represents the Washington Square for the purposes of the show. They chat about their "old friend" Cigarette Smoking Man who is -spoilers- alive after the debacle in New Mexico. The episode ends with a cliffhanger the size of New Mexico itself, so it's not that surprising they started filming in Vancouver again for a new season this April.
Staying in the sci-fi & FBI related Fox shows, Fringe is a bit like X-files meets science fair and Doctor Who. The plot tells a story of a fictional Fringe Division, which uses questionable science to investigate paranormal phenomenon & parallel universes. The whole plot revolves around the mad scientist Walter who was previously hospitalized for his dodgy experiments, his son Peter and FBI agent Olivia, who is in charge of the investigations and keeping the two guys sane.
In season four, Robson Square is used as Boston Plaza where the time-travelling Observers gather to discuss one of their own currently dying. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, not a recurring set, but the style of the ice ring fits perfectly with the cold and futuristic theme of the series.
When a killer on the loose escapes to the mountains and infiltrates a group of hikers, cranky FBI agent is forced to team up with a mountain guide to catch him. Sidney Poitier as the city-dwelling FBI agent Warren Stantin and Tom Berenger as the wilderness guide Jonathan Knox are a great duo, providing a bit of comic relief in the otherwise action-packed movie.
The movie ends with the killer escaping through the mountains to Canada, namely to Vancouver. Stantin then stakes out at Robson Square to find him and this starts a very dramatically-sequenced gun chase through Downtown.
The Interview is a crazy comedy telling a story of a tabloid talk-show host who wants more from his life. He wants to cover real news. He is in luck when Kim Jong-un reveals he is a big fan and invites him for an interview. It looks simple at first, but it soon becomes more complicated, when CIA agents show up at his door, asking him to assassinate Kim.
Robson Square plays the role of the Korean Presidential Palace in the movie. It undergoes heavy altering by the film crew. You'll be searching for that warm and welcoming feeling of this plaza for a long time after looking at the shots, but it's there. Unfortunately, the only thing that stayed the same are the stairs.
Tomorrowland is a sci-fi movie telling the story about the group of brilliant minds recruited by a mysterious pin summoning them to a strange futuristic place - Tomorrowland. A teen prodigy Casey and a former kid-genius Frank are together battling the odds and self-fulfilling prophecy which doomed the world to its end. Robson Square comes up at the end of the movie as Tokyo Square, where we are shown that more Tomorrowland pins are distributed through the world recruiting young talents from everywhere.
Meet The Photographer: Ricardo Vacas
Ricardo Vacas, owner of the firm Kerp Photography, always showed intense interest in many forms of creative arts. His professional photography career started in his home country, Spain, where he was the official photographer of several music bands, models and clothing brands. He decided to move to Wellington, New Zealand in 2012, knowing his real interest was fashion photography more than any other field. Currently living in Vancouver, Canada, he now combines his fashion, editorial and commercial photography projects with regular trips to Europe and USA.