On Location at Supernatural’s VanCon 2013

We’ve been having fun here in beautiful Vancouver for a few days, but today VanCon officially kicked off with the Location Tour hosted by SPN’s locations manager, Russ Hamilton, and his lovely assistant Andrea. We thought we’d share a few photos from our day on the ‘RussBus’.

One of the highlights of the day was catching up with the actual tech survey for episode 9.05. Director Kevin Parks, along with production designer Jerry Wanek, producer Jim Michaels, and the rest of the scouting party let us come along and listen in for a bit while they discussed how they’d film parts of the episode and what would work best. It was fascinating to watch them engaged in serious discussion, changing perspectives periodically to figure out how they could get the shots they’d need for the scene.

Tech survey in progress
Tech survey in progress

Jim and Russ took a short break from the serious business to ham it up for the gathered fans.

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And even the director’s dog, Kuma, came to join in the fun. Beautiful dog, and so sweet – loved posing for photos!

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After that, it was on to one of the most emotionally meaningful exteriors that Supernatural has ever had – the Men of Letters bunker. We’ve posted here before about how much we love that the boys finally have a home base, so actually standing in front of the entrance had me a little choked up. I mean, it’s Sam and Dean’s home! So what if the people walking down the path through the park looked at me a little oddly.

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Inside the entrance are actually some access hallways that might have been cool to shoot, but they didn’t end up using them. Also interesting is that they couldn’t drive the Impala up to right in front of the bunker, because of unsafe road conditions, so she had to be parked a little ways away.

Here’s what Sam and Dean see when they come out of the bunker (on the other side of the road). Nice view the boys have, isn’t it?

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Next we went to see another Season 9 location – this one is for a scene in 9.03, but instead of being empty it will be a homeless camp, with tents and a dilapidated old school bus.


Castiel will be in the homeless camp, which is located under this bridge. Poor guy. Hopefully he won’t spend too long living in a dilapidated school bus.

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SPN always has a sense of humor — we stopped for lunch next to the homeless camp. Guanaco Truck, which often provides meals for the SPN cast and crew, treated the fans to a delicious meal.

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After lunch, we drove through Gastown, where many episodes have been filmed, including the original Men of Letters location and the comic book store, and we went by the 2400 Motel where Sam lived with Amelia, which is a very unusual looking motel indeed. Eventually we made our way to Coquitlam, and Mundy Park, the setting for the episode LARP and the Real Girl. One does not just walk into Moondoor….unless you’re on a bus full of fangirls!

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We all got a copy of the map showing the location of all the tents constructed for the episode, so we could walk through the now empty fields and imagine where everything was. I have no idea what the other people who happened upon us thought about a group of 60 people wandering around a field looking strangely entranced by absolutely nothing. Below is where the Queen’s tent was. Just imagine Felicia Day right here.

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Of course, when we reached the place where the battlefield scene was filmed, it called for some reenactment. Some LARPing, if you will. First we split ourselves into two fangirl armies and gestured threateningly at each other. Without the face paint, however, it wasn’t quite the same. Then Russ pulled out the script for that episode, and acted out the scene where Dean does a bit of Braveheart quoting and Sam, when questioned by Charlie, confides that it’s the only one he knows. Russ had the right shirt to be Sam, don’t you think?

Sam: (aka Russ) It's the only one he knows...
Sam: (aka Russ) It’s the only one he knows…

We then trekked through Moondoor — I mean, Mundy Park — to the spot in the woods where Sam and Dean confront some of the LARPers. If you watch the scene carefully, you should be able to spot the “naked tree” you can see here. Russ and some fans may or may not have mistaken it for a stripper pole.

Confrontation at the naked tree
Confrontation at the naked tree

The last location we visited (after a clandestine buzz by the Supernatural studios in Burnaby) was the site of Richard Roman Enterprises. In real life, it’s Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, owned by a cousin of Russ Hamilton. It’s an amazing building and often used for film shoots. Here’s the elevator where Charlie rode up and down. And yes, we did sing ‘Walkin’ on Sunshine’

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The front doors of ‘Dick Roman Enterprises’, where the boys came crashing through. They removed the real doors and put up their own before smashing them. Obviously.

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All in all, a fun way to kick off the con — we’ll have lots more posts and tweets and interviews coming up over the next three crazy days of fannish fun. Follow us here, and on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

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