This post is now three days late – sorry about that – this trip has been exhausting! We’ve been packing in the activities and the Hearties Family Reunion has also been incredibly full on. Eventually, it all catches up!
Day seven of our trip to Canada also saw the final event on the Hearties HFR4 itinerary – the set tour. After watching the five seasons of the series, it would be a surreal feeling to actually walk around on the set of Hope Valley.
But first things first … Sunday also marked the day we were due to pick up our rental car ahead of our trip to the Canadian Rockies in week two. That meant a trip into town to pick up the car. We’d booked an SUV-style vehicle – a Toyota Highlander (or Kluger as they are called in Australia) or similar – which we thought would be okay luggage wise as our research showed they were seven-seaters. Well, apparently we were wrong – they come in both five and seven-seaters and, of course, we ended up with the five-seater. After talking with the Hertz receptionist again and exploring the options for a larger vehicle, we decided against the extortion rate of an extra $100 per day and stuck with our original vehicle. We also returned the Sat Nav as the vehicle already came with one, which the receptionist did not tell us before signing the paperwork, but then told us that the car Sat Nav was better than the rented unit (in short, not happy with Hertz, but they were the only rental company we could find that offered winter tyres – essential given where we would be travelling).
After nervously setting out in the car on the wrong side of the road (thanks Kristyn for initially jumping behind the wheel! 😊) we made our way to Granville Island on the Vancouver waterfront to look around before returning to the hotel ahead of our Hope Valley set tour. Granville Island is full of really interesting little artisan shops (if you are there, we recommend you check out the shop where they hand-make brooms – just beautiful!) and a brilliant fresh food market with seafood, bakeries, cafes, a tea shop and fruit and veges. Yet again we were rewarded with another stunningly beautiful day, which made it an incredible early morning experience, particularly by the water.
n Sunday, the shops open a little later, which means we had a chance to scope them out before returning once they had opened.
We left in plenty of time to get back to our hotel in Burnaby ahead of the tour, and KP proved herself very capable of driving in Sunday morning traffic.
We were the last tour group of the day, and the drive out to the Ma
cInnes farm to the east of Vancouver was just beautiful, with blue skies and lots of autumn colours, including blueberry plants with fall foliage at a nearby property.
If you have seen the When Calls the Heart series you’d know there is a main street in the town featuring building such as the Mounted Police office, the bank, the Mayor’s office, Lee’s lumber office, the saloon and Abigail’s café, among others. The MacInnes family built these buildings as complete structures (as opposed to simple facades), but some computer graphic work is needed to finish them off. For example, there are just two row houses (one set up for Elizabeth and one for Rosemary and Lee), but when you see them on TV there appear to be a row of houses.
While stairs have been built inside these rowhouses giving the impression of a second floor, there is no second floor in these buildings. And while TV the saloon has accommodation rooms on the upstairs floor, these don’t exist in the building itself.
We were fortunate to have Director Neill Fearnley as our tour guide and appreciated his insights as he explained how scenes were filmed, how they re-dress rooms within the Hope Valley main street to save having to travel to other locations for filming, how they find their antique props, and how they deal with disruptions during filming such as overhead planes.
The tour around the various locations within the set took around two hours, which gave us around 30 minutes to explore the locations ourselves and get our much-prized photos. Here are just a few of our photos from the afternoon.
We also got the chance to sample some of cheap President’s Choice vanilla cream biscuits that Lori Loughlin loves so much (for the record, they are not bad!!).
We then shuffled back to the bus for the journey back to the hotel, and the official end of this year’s HFR4.
Again, we want to express our heartfelt congratulations to the organising committee for all the work they did to make the event a success and in providing us with a beautiful experience that we’ll remember for many years. We’ve also made some great contacts with other Hearties from all over the world and we look forward to keeping in touch with them.