New Westminster’s long heritage is full of epic tales: the Great Fire, the Queen’s visit, the indignity of having our status as B.C.’s capital revoked, and, of course, who could forget when Bella went on that first date with Jacob at the movie theatre on Columbia St. just before he changed into a werewolf?
Yes, New Westminster’s Twi-Hard historians may have a renaissance this spring and summer. When the New Moon DVD is released tomorrow, the Queensborough Wal-Mart will be one of dozens of stores in the chain bracing for a rush of Twilight fans at a special midnight opening. With several key scenes filmed right here in New Westminster, maybe Archie Miller should start a Twi-Hard walking tour to share this most important historical legacy with future generations.
The Paramount Theatre (transformed into a cinema for the Bella/Jacob date scene) and other parts of Columbia, Front St. (including the parkade) and 61 Duncan St. were among the New Westminster locations used in the movies, netting about $10k for city coffers, according to the city’s Jason Haight in an email to me earlier today:
The permit fees for this filming were $10,503.15. This value does not include the economic spin off related to Twilight filming in New Westminster (i.e. goods or services purchased while filming or wages paid to staff who reside in the community, and in turn, further stimulate the local economy).
On an annual basis filming permit revenues equal between ½ to 1% reduction in property taxes. Again this value does not consider the non-permit economic multiplier effect in hosting filming in New Westminster. A past BC Film Commission study estimated that the economic spin off of filming in New Westminster was $8M and is approximately $1.2B in British Columbia, of which, 96% is spent in Metro Vancouver.
Another example of the economic benefits related to filming includes the 2009 Filming of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in New Westminster. Permit fees, location fees and community gifts exceeded $150k plus the associate economic spin off related to the production company purchasing good or services from New Westminster merchants or residents. This feature film, I believe, has just been released and has received positive critical reviews. Seeing our beautiful City on the big screen brings a sense of pride to our community.
So even if you aren’t interested in the brouhaha over ‘Team Edward’ vs. ‘Team Jacob’ you can thank Twilight and other New West-filmed shows for offsetting at least a little of our property taxes, and lending a touch of the silver screen’s lustre to the Royal City.
And, coming this summer, there’ll be even more vampy New West action on screen in the third installment when Eclipse is released in theatres…