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Step into Christmas Movie Magic

A 2023 story sponsored by Martini Town: Merry & Bright

Movies are a huge part of the holidays for most us. From Elf to It’s a Wonderful Life and from Miracle on 34th Street to all those heartwarming Hallmark specials, we love visiting charming silver screen worlds where everything looks and feels exactly like the perfect Christmas.


But this December, you won’t have to rely on a screen to transport you. A one-hour drive from Vancouver, Langley’s Martini Studios is a state-of-the-art movie and TV production complex that houses a cool Hollywood-like exterior backlot, complete with replica streets and dozens of full-sized building facades.


And this year––for the first time ever––that backlot has been extravagantly decorated for the season and transformed into a uniquely immersive winter wonderland for everyone to visit.


What will I see?


Running from December 1 to January 1, Martini Town: Merry & Bright is your chance to step right into the world of nostalgic Christmas movies. Along with its NYC-style brownstone homes––each one decorated individually with glowing windows and glittering decorations––you’ll discover a 1950s-look diner, a grand courthouse, an old-school cinema, an expansive town square and much more.


Every square inch has been fully decorated for the holidays by expert TV and movie industry set design teams who know exactly how to create the perfect holiday look. You’ll find a cornucopia of wreaths and garlands, plentiful shimmering Christmas trees and countless sparkling lights––many with the kind of nostalgic glow often found in holiday decorations from the 1940s.


Hallmark Channel fans might feel particularly at home here. Along with movies, TV adverts and Netflix shows, the backlot has been used for multiple Hallmark holiday films over the years. And several new movies airing on the channel for the first time this December––including Sealed with a List and Friends and Family Christmas––were filmed right here as well.


Are there any extras?


Along with countless magical selfie-snapping opportunities, Martini Town: Merry & Bright also includes a full playbill of supporting features. There’s live holiday music every night, with an eclectic array of performers ranging from choirs to carolers and from singer-songwriters to a toe-tapping barbershop quartet––plus recorded music to keep you in the mood between performances.


There’s also a mini Market Lane of handpicked vendors here most evenings. And there will even be special guest appearances from the biggest holiday movie star of all time––Santa Claus himself––on select nights. He’ll be accompanied by his ever-friendly elves, who will be more than happy to snap some free photos on your phone for you. Check the event schedule before you book you tickets to make sure you pick the perfect night for you and your family to attend.


Food-wise, keep in mind that although the vintage-look diner might seem like the perfect place to snag a hot dog and fries at 1950s prices, it’s only a movie set eatery. There will be some deliciously tempting food truck options here, though. And tea, coffee and hot chocolate will also be available from one of the glittering storefronts. If you want to make a night of it, there are also some handy restaurants a short drive from the studio complex.


What’s the backstory?


Martini Town Merry & Bright is providing extra work for local “Hollywood North” employees at a time when the region’s production industry has been facing some challenges. All the attraction’s onsite staff are from the TV and movie business, and visitors are encouraged to look for those wearing “I Work in Film” pins to ask them about past productions they’ve worked on.


Although these unusual circumstances are the reason Martini Town Merry & Bright was created this year, the studio hopes its unique festive attraction––a real-life walk-through Tinseltown––will have a sparkling sequel next December and for many holidays to come. But don’t miss 2023’s premiere season, and be sure to get here before the credits roll!


If you go:


Martini Town: Merry & Bright runs from Wednesday to Sunday between December 1 and December 24 and daily from Tuesday December 26 to Monday January 1. Opening hours are from 4pm to 10pm. Be sure to dress appropriately––this is an outdoor attraction. Tickets are $22 for adults; $18 for seniors; $12 for children; and there’s also a good-value $60 family ticket (two adults and two children under 13). Tickets are not available at the gate and must be purchased online. (Note: all 2023 links above are disabled)

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