The zombie apocalypse descended on the city of Canmore in southwest Alberta in November 2021. That’s when HBO’s new videogame-based series, The Last of Us — the largest such production in Canadian history — occupied the downtown core, transforming the city into Jackson, Wyoming. The production provided a welcome injection of capital into the community and will help attract more attention to Canmore as an ideal location for film and television productions.
Canmore at a Glance
- Population 14,798
- Median Family Income $115,540
- Unemployment Rate 5.5%
- Residential Vacancy Rate 0.5%
- Life Stress 20.9%
- Sense of Belonging 74.1%
Source: Government of Alberta
Canmore is no stranger to Hollywood, having previously hosted productions of films like the Oscar-winning adventure drama, The Revenant, which shot scenes around Dead Man’s Flats on Spray Lakes Road. It also provided some unique expertise to the 2018 production of Togo, Disney’s epic about the real-life heroic canine named in the title. Starring Willem Dafoe as the renowned musher Leonard Seppala, the crew of sled dogs that ran through the Albertan wilderness were supplied by Canmore’s own Snowy Owl Sled Dogs.
As more productions of this scope are attracted to Canmore and the surrounding Kananaskis region, these experiences will, as Chris Bartolomie, the Town’s supervisor of arts and culture observes, “give us insight into the complexity of film permitting at this level,” and help the community develop necessary infrastructure for similar projects.
The majesty of southwestern Alberta’s diverse landscape is a significant attraction for film and television projects of all kinds, including wilderness documentaries and adventure films. Sherpas Cinema, an independent production company based in British Columbia that specializes in outdoor adventure and mountaineering films, opened an office in Canmore just so it could take advantage of the area’s natural assets, as well as the resources and infrastructure provided by the city.
With all it has to offer Alberta’s film and television industry, you’ll likely be seeing more of Canmore on your screen in the future.