From Lauren Conrad’s Bambi-inspired clothing line for Kohl’s to Kate Spade’s Disney tech accessories, the true Disney fan loves watching the real and magical worlds collide. In ABC’s hit show Once Upon a Time, fairy tale characters are forced into our world — with new technology, fierce feuds and, yes, a little bit of magic. If you’ve ever wondered what your fave Disney characters would be like IRL, the magical town of Storybrooke is actually just a short drive away from Vancouver, BC. Steveston, which was once famous for its elaborate salmon cannery, is now the magical town of Storybrooke full-time, attracting tourists from across the globe to visit its television-magic streets. We packed up our yellow bug (okay, our black Honda Fit) and took off to explore the town. Here are some of our favorite behind-the-scenes spots.
1. Post Office: If you’re thinking about visiting Storybrooke, you should definitely consider stopping here first. Doubling as both the Storybrooke Post Office and the Steveston Museum, the friendly staff can tell you anything you’d like to know about Once Upon a Time and will give you a handy ONCE themed map of Steveston to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
2. Granny’s Diner: Walk down the infamous Moncton Street, where the cast and crew often congregate during shooting days, and you’ll run right into Granny’s Diner. Although, when the crew isn’t filming in Steveston — about one to three days per month — the Granny’s sign is removed and the diner transforms back into the Steveston Cannery Café, which is a popular breakfast spot (and Instagram hub) for locals and visitors alike.
3. Mr. Gold’s Pawnbroker: Although Mr. Gold’s pawnshop is actually a novelty gift store called It’s Posh, the decal sign is left up all year for tourists to stop and snap a pic. Some of the merchandise inside is even themed with the magical franchise, including a few trinkets with Mr. Gold’s logo on the packaging.
4. Storybrooke Library: Fans love checking out the iconic Storybrooke library — although there’s always a fair bit of mumbling once visitors realize that the upper segment of the clock tower is digitally added to the shots post filming using special effects. For a while, visitors could see the broken clock of season five’s underworld version of Storybrooke, but it has since been removed. Maybe our fave squad might just be getting out of Hades hair soon (fingers crossed).
5. Storybrooke Marina: This beautifully quaint boardwalk is a perfect evening stroll in the summertime, although it can get quite chilly in the spring. Many tourists rent bikes along the long walkway, but for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of Captain Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) boat, The Jolly Roger, you definitely need to plan ahead. The boat they use for filming, which is actually cut in half thanks to the magic of set design, is sometimes docked there — although it wasn’t the day we visited. If you want to know the filming schedule before your visit, I recommend following @YVRshoots on Twitter for the latest ONCE filming news.
6. Storybrooke Country Bread Company and Other Local Businesses: Local businesses around the small marina town, such as Storybrooke Country Bread Company and The Candy Dish, have truly embraced the tourist culture by making Once Upon a Time an extensive part of their business, even if the stores are rarely filmed in the TV series. For example, a quick pop into The Candy Dish and you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and a slew of Once Upon a Time themed treats, from Henry’s Cinnamon Hot Chocolate to Dark Chocolate Swans. And yes, they’re definitely magical.
Would you like to take a vacation in Storybrooke? Mention @BritandCo in your comments on Twitter.
(Photos via Caitlin Macey and Frederick M. Brown/Getty)