Did you know that Heritage Park is often used as a set for films and television series? Not many people do, but the Park has been an important part of Calgary’s film industry as far back as the 1970s, perhaps even earlier!
Heritage Park staff first began keeping records of productions shot at the Park back in 1972, with the filming of the CBC mini-series The National Dream – Building the Impossible Railway, released in 1974. Since then, over 80 productions, including 43 feature films and 40 television series, have chosen Heritage Park as one of their filming locations. One of the most recent being the highly anticipated HBO series The Last of Us (2023) which used the Wainwright Hotel, among a few other buildings, as one of its major sets in 2021.
The Last of Us isn’t the only big budget production to film at the Park. The Assassination of Jesse James (2007), Passchendaele (2008) and Shanghai Noon (2000) all used Heritage Park as a set and each production was able to transform our buildings into whatever was needed, without damaging the historic nature of the Park and its buildings. From transforming Baron’s Snooker Parlor into a saloon for The Assassination of Jesse James, to the mysterious, yet to be shown, scenes in the Wainwright Hotel for The Last of Us, the Park has become known as a very versatile set, due to the variety of genres that are shot here.
Many of the productions shot at the Park have even gone on to win major awards! As of 2022, films shot at the Park have been nominated for a total of 5 Oscars with 1 win (Days of Heaven ), 18 Primetime Emmy nominations and 10 wins (including Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee  and Fargo [2014/16]) and even a Golden Globe nomination. That’s pretty impressive if you ask us!
Over the past couple years, there has been a major uptick in productions shot not only at Heritage Park but Calgary in general. With 3 major television series choosing to film here since 2021 and many more productions interested in filming in the coming year, we can only imagine what will be shot here next. But for now, we are so excited to see the ways in which HBO transformed the Park to fit the apocalyptic nature of The Last of Us, premiering this Sunday, Jan. 15! Keep your eyes peeled and try and see how many Heritage Park landmarks you can spot!