13 July 2012

Vacation 2012: X-Files

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

And by "X-Files", I mean X-Files filming locations in Vancouver, British Columbia.  This was the whole point of our trip, actually. Well, not the X-Files part, but the Vancouver part, certainly.  I visited about 11 years ago to see a college I wanted to attend (didn't work out; God is good), and I've been wanting to get back ever since. Well since we live about 12 hours away by car, uh, yeah, we had to go before we move back to the middle of the country.

We did a bunch in our three days, four nights, but as the title suggests, I'm just going to focus on the X-File-y stuff. Because this is my blog and I do what I want.

Now, even though I was completely geeking out, there were still some limits to the nerdiness. 1.) Three-year-old in tow, which meant we tried not to plan too many things for one day, and we needed to be home in time for dinner. 2.) Husband in tow, which meant that attractions had to be independently interesting, aside from the fact that the X-Files was filmed there.

The first day we focused on Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

Independently cool factors: Dolphins, penguins, narwhal statue, hummus and veggies lunch plate, and kids' play area.


X-Files cool factor: Scene from first season episode "E.B.E." with Deep Throat and Mulder was filmed in front of the shark tank.

[That's David Duchovny, I promise.]

Day Two, Grouse Mountain.

Independently cool factors: a beautiful view of beautiful scenery, fun skyride, birds of prey exhibit, grizzly bear habitat, family-friendly yet innuendo-filled lumberjack show, and POUTINE!
(You may also recognize it as NBC's broadcast "studio" for the 2010 Winter Olympics.)



[Canada food]

X-Files cool factor: Season two episode "Ascension" filmed on the skyride gondolas.

On Day Three, we took a walking (and walking, and walking, and huffing, and puffing) tour around downtown to see a couple different sights, including...

Robson Square


X-Files cool factor: More than one episode was filmed here, but the Lone Gunmen ice skated on the ice rink!

[Promo photo, not a screen capture. Unfortunately.]

Vancouver Art Gallery


X-Files cool factor: Used as the exterior for a university library in the episode "Synchrony" (which is a pretty decent stand-alone hour of sci-fi television).

Ovaltine Cafe

Independently cool factors: Really old, really crappy, really cheap cruddy old diner smack dab in the emphatically worst part of Vancouver (and probably the whole of British Columbia).


X-Files cool factor: Several scenes from "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" were filmed here.  "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" is hysterical.  It's really, really funny.  That may or may not hold true if you've never watched an episode of the X-Files.

Other fandoms cool factor: Episodes of Fringe and Da Vinci's Inquest, and scenes from the movies I, Robot and The Butterfly Effect.

Actually, the Ovaltine Cafe was one of the places I managed to talk my parents into hitting up when we went for that college visit.

[17-year-old me]

The place hasn't changed in at least the last 16 years (since the X-Files was filmed there).  Pretty sure it's looked exactly the same, and perhaps has been using the same plates since it opened in... whenever long time ago.

[27-year-old me and progeny]

And yes, we ate there. Ick.

[Supernaturally fluffy pancakes. There has to be a scientific explanation for this.]

And the whole thing was fun and special, and the realization of a long-time dream, one I thought I had laid to rest when I watched the 2010 Winter Olympics from my couch instead of in real life like 18-year-old me had been planning.

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