Starring Vancouver Public Library

We had just walked out of the library … and accidentally onto the film set.

My husband and I recently traveled to Vancouver, BC, and it was my first time visiting the city. Vancouver has a wonderfully low-key vibe, and it is quite walkable and chock full of interesting architecture and public art.

But what does this have to do with my blog about librarians or libraries in film?

Well, the first full day we were in the city, we walked right into a film set outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library — twice! I have read a lot about how Vancouver is a mecca for television and film crews, and boy, is that true. There were quite a few signs around the downtown location where we were staying (right across from the library, in fact) that read something similar to, “Filming taking place in this area. If you do not want to be filmed, find an alternate route.”

The first two days we were in Vancouver, which were also sunny days, they were filming scenes outside the library for a TV pilot called “Proof,” starring Jennifer Beals as a surgeon; Kyra Sedgwick is also serving as producer, and Alex Graves directing. Apparently, the library is serving as a hospital set for the planned series. You can see more pics of the external — and internal — filming scenes here and here, for starters. Below are some shots we captured of the experience:

Scenes from the 'Proof' set outside the Vancouver Public Library
Scenes from the ‘Proof’ set outside the Vancouver Public Library

It was kind of an bizarre experience watching the second scene from the sidelines. We had just walked out of the library — we always visit a library every new place we travel to! — and accidentally onto the film set. And, yes, we got shooed away from the set for being actual pedestrians — which made me laugh! — so that they could film actors playing pedestrians. Cinéma vérité at its finest? 😉

That also got me thinking about other films and TV series that have used the Vancouver Public Library as a backdrop or set. It is a very distinctive building, kind of an architectural cross between the Coliseum and a snail shell. The curved walls, windows, and atrium combine for a really stunning effect. The public referendum for the building was passed in November 1990, and the public also voted on proposed building designs. The winning design was by Moshe Safdie, and the building was completed in 1995.

The central branch of the Vancouver Public Library
The central branch of the Vancouver Public Library
(Clockwise): Me outside the VPL; the VPL atrium; curved-wall interior of the library
(Clockwise): Me outside the VPL; the VPL atrium; curved-wall interior of the library

Below is at least a partial list of films that feature the Vancouver Public Library:

  • The 6th Day (library was headquarters for the cloning company)
  • 88 Minutes
  • Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (shoot-out scene filmed inside and outside the building)
  • Battle in Seattle
  • Battlestar Galactica (TV series)
  • Caprica (TV series, spin-off of Battlestar Galactica)
  • The Dead Zone (TV series)
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Fringe (TV series)
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (closing sequence filmed in entrance hall)
  • Mr. Magoo (museum scenes filmed in the Central Branch entrance hall)
  • Smallville (TV series)
  • Stargate SG-1 (TV series)
  • This Means War (the library square)
  • Tru Calling (TV series, Season 2, Episode 5:  “Enough”)
  • (TV series, library square as seen here)

Do you know of any more titles to add to the list? If so, please leave a comment and let me know!


Sources used:



Note:  All of the pictures on this post were taken by either me or my husband.

Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

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