Turn on the tube this holiday season – specifically the Hallmark and Lifetime channels – and local TV watchers might wonder if their staring at a screen or out their window this holiday season.
The upbeat family get-togethers and fantastical romances found on these movies-of-the-week (MOW’s) have their loyal following.
Millions of households tune in, particularly around Christmas time, to get a warm and toasty feeling that even a roaring fire with roasting chestnuts struggles to compete with.
While they may put some in the festive mood, the fun lies for many locals in picking out locations they know and been.
Langley has been the site of countless productions, not to mention a few big-budget studio Christmas movies, over the past year.
It’s been so busy in fact, Jenn DesLauriers, manager of Frosting Cupcakery and Bake Shop, said movies and TV have just become part of the business.
“We probably get one in every couple weeks… someone coming in scouting the place out or inquiring about filming,” DesLauriers explained.
Frosting Cupcakery was a major setting for Hallmark’s The Sweetest Heart, a recent sugary romantic comedy about a women who follows her dream of running her own cupcake shop.
DesLauriers said the movie definitely put them on the map after it aired, having also supplied cookies and cupcakes for Riverdale’s Christmas episode a few seasons back.
“People have come in to look around – another lady who does a Hallmark movie blog came to take pictures,” she explained.
Of course, DesLauriers assured that the extra business is welcome, she stressed that the potentially invasive projects have not been an inconvenience.
”They built a wall in between the shop and changed everything around – I’m literally sitting behind this wall in the movie the whole time – but they coordinated with us to we could continue with orders… and they nicked a bookshelf when they were moving it and replaced it with a whole brand new set,” DesLauriers said. “I would absolutely recommend. It’s so cool seeing your story on TV.”
Frosting Cupcakery is just one of the many spots around Downtown Langley that have been immortalized on-screen; pedestrians may have struggled to get past McBurney Plaza the last few weeks without a moments waits.
A festive setup, nicknamed “Candy Cane Lane” by the production crew, transformed the plaza into a glowing Christmas market.
The entirety of the Fraser one-way was taken over by the Disney production Noelle in October of last year, starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, and Shirley MacLaine.
Released on Disney+ in mid-November, the production, which tells the story of Kris Kringle’s children taking over the reins of gift delivery, extensively featured Salt Lane and the surrounding shops for a scene.
DesLauriers said Disney even rented out her business for crew to hang out in during Noelle’s production.
Teri James, Executive Director of the Downtown Langley Business Association, said the abundance of shops and supportive people make the area an attractive place to shoot.
“I believe filming in Langley City is desirable for a few reasons: there’s a tax break for them if they film in either of the Langley’s,” James explained. “The city staff is great to work with [as] most of the businesses are very supportive of filming, and the vibe of the “mom and pop” downtown works very well for many of the movies that are filmed here.”
Productions aren’t limited to Langley City either.
In August, The Mistletoe Secret staring Kellie Pickler was shot in downtown Aldergrove, making use of artificial and real snow to get the summer streets looking like a chilly winter’s day.
Yorkson Creek Middle School was decked out in Christmas decor for a MOW over the summer.
Then, of course, there is Fort Langley – one of the busiest areas in not just the Fraser Valley, but all of Canada when it comes to Hallmark productions.
Estimated by the fan website I’ve Scene it on Hallmark, 30 Hallmark movies with a Christmas theme have been shot Fort Langley in the past 15 years.
CEO of Creative BC Prem Gill stated at an August dinner meeting of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce that last year, 1,788 days of filming took place in Langley.
Hallmark has already begun airing their new arsenal of Christmas flicks; 24 band new premier holiday movies until the end of 2019.
Lifetime has a steady stream of original Christmas content airing daily.
So the question then becomes, what is Langley watching and where are they seeing themselves?
Heather Alexander, a Langley City resident, won four Cineplex tickets (two adults and two children) for responding to Langley Advance Times contest earlier this month.
Readers were asked what Hallmark movies they were watching this holiday season and if anyone had seen productions shooting in Langley.
Alexander said she had seen A Christmas at Grand Valley, which was filmed in Brogan’s Diner, and A Dollywood Christmas, which had scenes that were filmed in McBurney Lane.
“It is great to see filming happening here in Langley/Aldergrove,” Alexander said. “It helps our local businesses get on the map.”
Here’s what other readers had to say about Langley locations in any holiday movies;
Theresa Gallello; “Loved seeing Fort Langley in Coming Home For Christmas.”
Tracy Roper: “So far just Noelle (Disney+) filmed in Langley’s one way stretch.”
Shelley-Travis Streifel: “We pretty much watch all of them from November to December. We love seeing downtown Langley, Fort Langley, and Five Corners in movies. They even filmed up at Bell Park so we are hoping to see which movie that was.”
Cass Eaton: “Hitched for the Holidays was filmed in Langley.”
Jenn Pea: “Christmas in Evergeen.”
Sharon Good: “Write Before Christmas filmed in my house and on my street.”
Doreen Borck: “I love Hallmark movies. I watch them all and have been for years. Love it that they are filmed in my backyard.”
What movies have you or are planning to watch this holiday season?
Dorothea Dahl: “I might as well post the whole tooten list. My PVR is always recording. I watch one every single night after work. They always help me to reminisce about home and the “good old days’.”
Dianne Korman-Shannon: “All of them! I watch them after my kids go to bed.”
Laura Marie Russell: “Corny christmas Hallmark movies are my absolute fav every year.”
Katie Optis: “Going to watch Noelle, as my friend has a starring role in it.”
Is there more to this story?