It may have looked like a homeless camp had been set up under the south end of the Burrard Bridge for months but it was actually a movie set for the Netflix series, Colony.
The city acknowledged it received “a handful” of calls from a curious and concerned public that yet another tent city for homeless people had emerged in Vancouver. The Courier also fielded a few emails from readers wondering whether it was real.
“It was so huge I thought at first it must have been part of a movie set, but I didn't see any of the typical movie trucks and vans,” said one reader, who keeps a boat in a nearby marina.
In fact, more than 50 tents and tarps were set up by film crews to resemble a refugee camp, according to a crew member cleaning up the set last week. She said crews had been filming in the area since last September.
The tents and tarps, along with wooden lean-tos, were easily visible from the east side of the bridge, near a billboard tower put up several years ago by the Squamish Nation, which owns the property. The setting for the series was Seattle.
Over the years, the same area has been a spot commonly frequented by homeless people. Outside the movie set’s fenced perimeter was evidence of that: a discarded mattress and dilapidated tent among a mess of garbage, including clothes and two old televisions.
The city recorded 2,138 people as homeless in March 2017. More than 500 were living on the street. The city will conduct another homeless count in mid-March.