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Here's why so many movies are filmed at this historic Spanish mansion in Vancouver

What is it about this mansion that makes it so popular?

It may seem like another lavish Vancouver home, but this mansion has made many on-screen appearances. 

Rio Vista's ornate architecture makes it stand out from other Southlands mansions. 

Hidden behind tall hedges and "ornamental wrought iron gates," the elaborate mansion was built in a Spansih Colonial Revival style with "numerous arched doors and casement windows with muntin bars, gardens surrounded by stucco walls, and low-pitched roofs with red tiles," writes Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF). 

Within the mansion lies a giant conservatory and a two-storey "Pompeiian" pool house. "The pool house is not visible from the street and connects to the house by a cement bridge," continues VFH. "Its roof has ornate glass and wrought iron work, and an ornate railing around an upper walkway."

The mansion was designed by architect Bernard Palmer in 1930 for Henry Frederick Reifel and is of "primary significance" according to VHF. It was built in 1931 for Reifel's son, Harry Reifel, according to MovieMaps, and also has a tennis court and separate garage in addition to the pool house. 

The mansion also features Charles Marega's plaster work; the same sculptor who made the two lion statues at the south end of the Lions Gate Bridge. 

Movies filmed at Rio Vista

The estate has seen numerous film sets over the years, though Fifty Shades Darker was one of the more popular movies to film there. These are all the movies and TV shows that filmed at Rio Vista:

  • Psych
  • Supernatural
  • The Magicians
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Fifty Shades Darker
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • iZombie
  • Charmed
  • Romeo Must Die
  • Reaper
  • Human Target
  • Running Wilde
  • Valentine
  • Trial & Error