This post was last updated on July 21st, 2016
Canada has a rich history in film. From being known as Hollywood North due to its cheaper film production costs, to popular shows being created North of the border, Canada has played a major role in the creation and inspiration behind some of the World’s biggest on-screen hits. But, as a science fiction fan, I want to focus on stories and locales that are more out of this World so to speak. Using tourism data from FlightHub, Canada’s most popular online travel agency, I have compiled a list of famous locations, conventions, and events worth checking out if you are a film aficionado. The first stop I wanted to talk about was featured in a recent FlightHub review, and it’s an old style town, in a province far, far away.
The Prairies. Known for its easy going, farmer centric, down home lifestyle, this region of Canada is the embodiment of live long and prosper. One small town in Saskatchewan takes this saying to heart. Vulcan, Saskatchewan, originally named after an ancient God, realized they had an opportunity to make themselves an obscure destination worth visiting for die hard Star Trek fans and they have made the most of it. Located near a popular FlightHub destination, Calgary, Alberta, Vulcan contains a small museum, a massive statue of the USS Enterprise, and hosts a yearly Star Trek festival. While this sounds like the kind of thing a large city would host, Vulcan is far from that. Home to less than 2,000 people, the Star Trek obsession in this town is a very grassroots movement, with many of the festivals and events being organized by the community as a whole.
While Vulcan holds many small festivals, nothing can compete with Canada’s massive Fan Expos. Hosted in top FlightHub destinations like Toronto, Vancouver, and Regina, these events draw tens of thousands of rabid fans looking to celebrate movies, comics, and games. In addition to seeing the many vendors, speakers, and demos, the crowd itself is a sight to behold as they often come in full costume as their favourite characters from movies, tv, and comics. To get an idea of how popular these events can be, Toronto’s most recent Fan Expo was attended by over 127,000 people, making it one of the most highly attended events of its kind in the World.
While we have looked at the past and present of Canadian science fiction, one event that encompasses the future of the genre and the film industry as a whole in Canada is the Toronto International Film Festival. Canada’s largest, and one of the World’s most prolific, film events, this festival sees the screenings of hundreds of films over its 11 day run in downtown Toronto, FlightHub’s top Canadian destination. 2015 saw over 450,000 people attend, including thousands of industry professionals. The festival itself serves as the spiritual lead up to “Oscar season” in Hollywood, warming critics up to new films coming out to end the calendar year.
In terms of film production, you may be surprised to know that many high profile films supposedly based in famous US locations, are actually filmed in Canada. The list includes:
-The Twilight Series
-The X-Men Series
-Rambo: First Blood
Today, many popular shows are not just filmed in Canada, but developed in Canada. One such example is Orphan Black. The Emmy nominated show was one of the most acclaimed shows of 2015. It has begun production on season four and looks to be another great Canadian science fiction classic.