Movie star, heartthrob and Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds made a surprise visit to the folks at the Covenant House shelter on Drake Street Monday afternoon.

Michelle Clausius, associate communications director for Covenant House, said the People magazine-named "sexiest man alive" was "very low-key and an admirer of the Covenant House in Vancouver."

After 13 years at the shelter, Clausius said it was the first time she had witnessed a big celebrity pop in for a visit.

"He wanted to learn more about the young people that we serve and what their challenges are," she said.

"Awareness-building is so crucial to our work. When someone as famous as Ryan Reynolds comes in, it's great for us."

The Covenant House is a privately run shelter for homeless youth and has been in operation in Vancouver since 1997.