VANCOUVER--Who knew the high arctic was just five miles north of the U.S. border?
That's where CBC held their west coast version of their Winter launch, in the makeshift sound stage where interiors for their upcoming drama Arctic Air are shot. The series, which stars Adam Beach and was inspired by the real life Buffalo Airmen of Ice Pilots: NWT, premieres January 10th.
The studio, which looks like it was once a horse barn, is tucked away in Aldergrove, B.C., about an hour's drive south of Vancouver. A large shuttle bus loaded with press types made the trek over the Fraser River to get to the place. The view out the window was pure Beachcombers, with logs lashed together on the river and nothing but B.C. timber for miles.
|A real Buffalo Air DC3 interior...|
Because I have been to Yellowknife twice to visit the actual Ice Pilots, I was able to compare and contrast the real deal and the set. The DC3 details they got right, no surprise considering the set piece is the fuselage of the actual planes Buffalo Joe and the others fly in the northern territories. (That's Joe in the photo above left, with his nose in the newspaper. Hey, who's flying the plane? Scotty Blue is to the left.) Only thing is the seats in the fake DC3 are much nicer than the seats in the planes used by Buffalo Air.
|...and the one from the Arctic Air set|
|The real interior of Yellowknife's Bullock's Bistro...|
|...and the interior of the set pub, with Hutton and Beach|
Further on was the offices of Arctic Air. I'm sure Mikey and Buffalo Joe would happily trade up to the set version of their humble digs up in Yellowknife. Beach and cast members Pascale Hutton and Kevin McNulty held court on the set. None of them fly, but Beach says he'd like to get into the cockpit of a DC3 one day soon before the world's supply of leaded gas dries up.
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Gerry Dee, from the new CBC sitcom Mr. D, was also in on the B.C. press deal, as were the hosts from Marketplace, Tom Harrington and Erica Johnson. Johnson declared the old wreck of a DC3 used on the set as "unfit" for air travel. Always good to have a consumer watchdog on these things.
|The lobby of the faux Frontenac Hotel as seen on Arctic Air. Swanky.|