There are impressive, beautiful, and awe-inspiring historic destinations all across Canada, and sometimes there are ones with rather controversial pasts. Riverview Hospital, an abandoned institution in Coquitlam, B.C., definitely fits into the latter.
Over the years, Riverview Hospital has become one of the most filmed locations in all of Canada. And now, the B.C. government is revisiting the future role of the site (now named ‘səmiq̓wəʔelə’) in contributing to health care access across the region.
While the hospital is not open to public viewing without express permission from the landowner, it’s still a pretty neat piece of B.C. history to read up on.
Note: Riverview Hospital is located on private property. This article is for informational purposes only.
Opening in 1913, Riverview quickly became home to some of the province’s most “high-risk” patients. Given the inhumane medical practices used to treat mental illness throughout plenty of the 20th century, Riverview has gained a minor reputation for being haunted.
Clearly, this explains the in-demand nature of this filming location for popular TV shows and movies over the past couple of decades. But before we get into that, we’ll touch on the future plans for the hospital itself.
The future of the hospital
Riverview officially shut its doors in July of 2012, and now has an “uncertain future” – if you ask Google Maps.
In 2021, however, the hospital was officially renamed to səmiq̓ʷəʔelə. In a new partnership with BC Housing, the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Nation and people are working to reconnect with their land and share their rich history and culture with the public.
Now, let’s get into which movies you might recognize the hospital from.
The Hospital’s West Lawn, East Lawn, and Crease Clinic buildings are the most popular filming spots. You might recognize them from such productions as Saw, Watchmen, Smallville, Fringe, Grave Encounters, The Butterfly Effect, Dark Angel, The X Files, Supernatural, Romeo Must Die, and Along Came A Spider.
The majority of Deadpool 2 was also filmed at East Lawn. Impressive list, but there are many, many more.
Interested in a tour? Of course, you are. The majority of tours at Riverview Hospital are Tree Tours put on by the Horticultural Society, but sadly, they just had their last tour at the beginning of the month.
The good news is that Riverview Hospital has been back up and running with some new facilities and cash from the B.C. government. This will hopefully lead to further improvements in mental health care access in the area.
Riverview sits on 244 acres of lush forest and nature, which is likely why it has been referred to as the ‘perfect mental health haven.’ Its proximity to so much natural beauty surely can’t hurt!
While the property still offers film and TV production crews plenty of filming potential, we’re hoping through continued funding that the hospital is able to resume operations and bring accessible treatment to patients across the province.