Where Was Once Upon a Time Filmed? Unveiling the Enchanted Locations!

“Once Upon a Time” captivated audiences with its imaginative retelling of classic fairy tales, juxtaposing the enchanting and often tumultuous pasts of beloved characters with their modern-day lives in a seemingly mundane town. The show ingeniously transforms the familiar into the extraordinary, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.

The quest to discover the true identities and destinies of the story’s characters leads viewers through a variety of bewitching settings.

Most of the storytelling magic happened in British Columbia, Canada, particularly in the picturesque town of Steveston, which doubles as the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine.

With its cozy shops, quaint streets, and scenic harbor, Steveston provided the perfect backdrop for the series’ charming blend of fairy-tale and slice-of-life drama.

Granny’s Diner, the iconic clock tower, and the atmospheric wharf are just some of the real-world locations that contributed significantly to the aesthetic of the show.

These sets and filming sites became as much a character of the series as the actors themselves, offering viewers a tangible connection to the fabled world of “Once Upon a Time.”

Do you want to know where was Once Upon a Time filmed? Let’s check the main filming location and all other sets.

Key Takeaways

  • “Once Upon a Time” merges fantasy with reality, set in a fictional town with a contemporary backdrop
  • British Columbia’s Steveston village served as the primary filming location, embodying Storybrooke, Maine
  • Prominent set pieces like Granny’s Diner and the clock tower are pivotal to the show’s enchanting atmosphere

Beginnings of ‘Once Upon a Time’

Exploring the roots of ‘Once Upon a Time’ unveils a tale of creativity and magic behind the screens. This enchanting series saw its inception at ABC, a home for imaginative storytelling.

Concept and Creation

Once upon a time, not in 1969, but some decades later, two friends and colleagues, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, came up with a magical concept. They wanted to craft a show that weaved the time-honored fairy tales we know and love into a modern-day narrative.

At the heart of their vision was ‘Once Upon a Time,’ a series that promised to transport viewers to worlds both new and nostalgic.

The idea was simple yet compelling: intertwining the fairy tale characters that everyone thought they knew with unexpected twists and turns.

Kitsis and Horowitz, with their backgrounds in captivating storytelling from their previous work on ‘Lost,’ were no strangers to intricately plotted series.

And with ABC showing interest in the pitch, ‘Once Upon a Time’ went from a mere thought to a greenlit project, ready to enchant hearts and provoke minds.

It was like the network had found a hidden treasure chest brimming with potential stories.

ABC, known for its diverse programming, recognized the unique blend of drama, fantasy, and romance.

The show’s creators desired to offer a series that not only entertained but also resonated with the child in every adult.

They aimed to remind viewers of the power of hope and belief in a world full of everyday challenges.

Filming Locations in British Columbia

The enchanting series “Once Upon a Time” found its primary filming home amidst the scenic beauty of British Columbia. They wove cinematic magic into the province’s lush landscapes, from the charming streets of Steveston to other unique locales across the region.

Steveston as Storybrooke

The heart of Storybrooke, Steveston, a quaint fishing village located within Richmond, serves as the show’s primary setting. The town’s real charm shines through the screen, with Moncton Street regularly dressed up to become the bustling main road of the fictional town.

Key landmarks like the Clock Tower and Granny’s Diner are in reality comfortable fixtures here, with the diner actually a lip-smacking eatery visitors can genuinely dine at, immersing themselves in the Storybrooke universe.

  • Moncton Street: Not only does life go on in this active thoroughfare, but it also doubles as the central hive of Storybrooke activity
  • Clock Tower: An essential piece of the on-screen landscape, it stands famously on Moncton Street as one of the show’s most iconic symbols

Other Key Locations in BC

“Once Upon a Time” also utilized other parts of BC to breathe life into its various mystical settings.

Langley’s Fort Langley Community Hall remarkably transforms for the show’s needs.

Then, there’s Burnaby’s Central Park, doubling as an enchanted forest backdrop for the series.

New Westminster lends its majestic architecture for certain scenes, adding grandeur to the fairytale aesthetic.

  • Fort Langley: It served as a backdrop for various scenes, including its significant facades along Glover Road
  • Central Park: Burnaby’s verdant gem, featuring as the fairy tale forest many characters trek through
  • Library: Among the indispensable structures of the show, represented by real buildings that sit comfortably in the heart of Steveston

Sneaking a peek into Steveston, one might easily feel part of the Once Upon a Time saga, with each spot in British Columbia playing its part in bringing Storybrooke to life, proving the magic of TV can sometimes be found just around the corner.

Character’s Journey Through Locations

In “Once Upon a Time,” characters frequently hop between realms, each with distinctive scenery reflective of their narrative arcs. The filming locations chosen were pivotal in depicting these assorted venues.

Main Characters and Their Environments

Mr. Gold‘s ominous aura as the notorious Rumplestiltskin is amplified by the Enchanted Forest’s mystical landscape. Darker scenes generally associated with his character often take place in forests and dimly lit areas, capturing the essence of his complex nature.

Regina, both as the mayor of Storybrooke, Maine, and the Evil Queen of the Enchanted Forest, traverses a line between two worlds.

Her regal stature in the Enchanted Forest and her more subdued persona in Maine are framed by sets ranging from grand castles to the quaint, sleepy town vibes of Storybrooke.

Snow White and Prince Charming have their journeys rooted in both the forested realms of the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke’s rustic charm.

Their idyllic love story unfolds in lush, green woods and homely, small-town settings, often symbolized by Steveston in Richmond, which doubles as Storybrooke.

Hook, with his swashbuckling flair and seafaring past, is often connected with water or port scenes.

The seaside village of Steveston also serves as the backdrop for his maritime escapades when the Storybrooke narrative requires a scenic harbor.

Jiminy Cricket, as both the conscience and the counselor, finds his settings are typically more intimate, such as Mr. Gold’s pawnshop or quiet corners of Storybrooke, putting him in spaces where reflective conversations happen away from grand spectacles.

The journey to Camelot showcased a bold shift in environment, with British Columbia’s Central Park serving as a stand-in for this legendary realm.

This contrast elevated the magical element when characters stepped into a kingdom of knights and mystique.

Notable Filming Sites and Set Pieces

When “Once Upon a Time” viewers are swept away to the enchanted realms of Storybrooke, they are actually glimpsing the scenic beauty of various locations in British Columbia. From charming diners to dramatic bridges, the real-world set pieces used in the show are as captivating as the stories they help tell. Here is where was Once Upon a Time filmed.

Iconic Structures and Places

Steveston Village, Richmond:
Storybrooke Town Hall: This quaint colonial-style building is as central to the town’s community events in the series as it appears. Located in Steveston Village, it has frequently hosted dramatic confrontations between the show’s beloved characters. It serves as the main filming location of the television series.

Granny’s Diner: The warm, inviting hub of Storybrooke’s social life, Granny’s Diner, where townsfolk and magical visitors alike gather, is actually a location right in the heart of Steveston Village. It has been a constant presence throughout the series.

Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop: This intriguing shop where deals and destinies intertwine is just a short walk down Moncton Street in Steveston and features a signboard that fans can easily recognize.

North Vancouver:
Spur 4 Bridge: Tucked away in the dense forest of North Vancouver, this bridge has served as an unforgettable site for many of the show’s otherworldly travels.

Colonial and Pirate Ship Sets: The atmospheres of colonial times and pirate adventures were authentically captured using The Bridge Studios as well as ships like the Jolly Roger, often docked in the area around the Third Avenue Pier, bringing fantasy elements to life.

Nikka Industries: Not commonly known, this industrial site provides the backdrop for the Storybrooke Cannery, symbolizing the town’s commercial side with its stark, functional architecture — a contrast to the whimsical elements of the series.

Beyond the Camera

The magical world of “Once Upon a Time” isn’t just a product of its enchanting filming locations; it’s also crafted through the wizardry of visual effects. As one gets lost in the story, it’s easy to forget that what they see on screen goes through a significant transformation after the cameras stop rolling.

VFX and After-production

Visual effects (VFX) are essential in bringing the fantasy elements of “Once Upon a Time” alive. Whether it’s creating mystical creatures or designing an entire kingdom, the VFX team works meticulously to ensure that the realms feel as authentic as possible.

They often start with the raw footage captured in Vancouver, BC, a place known for its picturesque landscapes and urban settings that serve as the backbone for both real-world and fantasy sequences.

  • Green Screens: A lot of the magic begins with actors performing in front of green screens. This allows the VFX artists to later insert digitally-created backgrounds or magical effects during the after-production phase
  • CGI Enhancements: From the evil queen’s fireballs to the transformations of characters, CGI helps in adding depth to the story. It’s the little details that matter, ensuring that every spell cast and every enchanted forest feels like it’s part of our world

Vancouver’s natural beauty is also often enhanced with VFX.

For example, to create the illusion of the fantastical land of Camelot, the show’s crew would record at a normal park and then transform it into something spectacular using post-production magic.

This gives viewers a seamless blend of reality and fantasy, allowing them to immerse themselves in the charming world the characters inhabit.

Written by Alexander