Sibling Rivalry

McKenzie Lake and McKenzie Towne have a shared history, but unique identities

Two southeast communities conceptualized in the late ’80s and early ’90s are still turning heads 20 years later. McKenzie Lake and McKenzie Towne share a lineage and a location: they are both named after one of the first homesteaders in the area, James McKenzie, and they sit side by side on the east and west boundaries of Deerfoot Trail. But that is where the similarities end.

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Small Towns on the Big Screen

High River and Okotoks are burgeoning film hubs

Even for those who don’t watch CBC’s family-drama series Heartland – now in its 11th season – the town of High River has become synonymous with the show.

“Heartland has become a part of the community,” said Irene Kerr, the curator and director of High River’s Museum of the Highwood. High River poses as the town of Hudson on Heartland. One of the show’s most well-known locales, Maggie’s Diner, is a building right along High River’s Main Street.

“We noticed a shift around 2015, when people who were visiting High River stopped asking about the 2013 flood and wanted to see where they were filming Heartland,” said Kerr.

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Movie Night

Independent film is alive and well in Calgary’s core

As big-box theatres stretch their reach into new communities, independent cinema is being kept alive in the heart of the city by two theatres that continue to draw a crowd, decades after they first opened.

The Plaza Theatre in Kensington and the Globe Cinema downtown have stood the test of time, as Calgary has shifted, expanded and sprouted skyward around them.

The Plaza began life as a garage in the 1920s, debuting as a theatre in 1935. It has held its ground over the years, as the area went from a little working-class community to a run-down relic in the ’70s, and finally became a revitalized, gentrified gem in the present.

“There are a lot of things about the Plaza that make it special,” said Logan Cameron, operations manager for the theatre.

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Red Carpet Moment

Calgary region has rich history and bright future on film

You’re watching a movie or TV show when something catches your eye.

“I know that place!” you exclaim, as a character enters a pizza place on a city street, or rides a horse through a wheat field with a majestic mountain backdrop.

Calgary and its surrounding areas are becoming increasingly popular as filming locations for major movie and television productions – making famous places that Calgarians know well.

“We have 100 years of history here,” said Luke Azevedo, Calgary film commissioner and CEO of the Calgary Film Centre. “We’re one of the oldest locations outside of Hollywood for production.”

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Setting the Scene

Calgary’s established, inner-city communities shine on screen

It has posed as part of the brutal, snow-covered plains of Minnesota, the demon-riddled streets of Purgatory, and the hospital corridors of a ranching saga.

Fargo, Wynonna Earp and Heartland have all filmed in one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods: Bridgeland. The community’s quaint main thoroughfare and surrounding streetscapes can reflect different eras and different small towns, says Ali McMillan, Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association planning director.

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