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Alberta’s Nature Strikes Gold With HBO’s The Last Of Us

HBO’s hit TV series brought a massive economic boost to Alberta and opened eyes to our province's potential

Alberta’s economy has traditionally focused on resource extraction. 

Some of the filming locations for The Last of Us | Last of Us News | X

This situation has resulted in numerous economic booms followed by busts. However, given our resource-rich environment, exploiting our natural potential has been financially logical.

But what if we were able to sell our resources without having to extract them at all?

The international hit show “The Last Of Us” is a prime example of how our wilderness and scenic grandeur can bring in millions of dollars without mines, wells or clear-cuts.

HBO’s post-apocalyptic series is based on a popular video game that follows the characters Ellie and Joel, portrayed by the phenomenal actors Bella Ramsey and the ever-lovable Pedro Pascal.

Ellie and Joel are forced to navigate through a world infected with “cordyceps,” a fungus that gives humans zombie-like symptoms.

It sounds riveting, and it is. But seeing all the local digs on the big screen gives the show extra charm for any Albertan.

The show’s first season was filmed entirely in Alberta, and our province was a diverse backdrop. It doubled as Austin, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, and even Jakarta, Indonesia. 

The show illustrates our province’s wide variety of landscapes, but more importantly, how much we can all benefit by sharing our natural riches, no refining needed.

Mining Film Revenues

Filming on locations throughout Alberta brought in massive money for the province. 

Oxford Economics found that $71 million was spent on production costs, wages and salaries for crew, and an additional $70 million on local businesses in the province.

The Last of Us generated 1,490 jobs in the province in 2021-22, adding more than $182 million to Alberta’s GDP.

Joel and Ellie must survive ruthless killers and monsters on a trek across America after an outbreak (with much of location filming done in Alberta) | Rotten Tomatoes

All this money from one TV series! 

Sheesh. And the international success has opened eyes in the film world to Alberta’s location potential.

“Thanks to the success of The Last of Us, the global film industry is now talking about Alberta as a fantastic place to bring their stories to life on the screen, no matter the size of the project,”  said Mark Ham, Alberta Film Commissioner.

We have great incentives, crew and locations — a combination that is hard to find anywhere else,”

All of the benefits of filming in Alberta have put us on the map as a destination that can support massive-scale TV productions. 

Matt Jones, Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trades, said the publicity will lead to more gigs and consistent long-term funds streamlined straight into Alberta.

“This monumental production not only showcased the breathtaking facets of our province but also emphasized why Alberta, with over 180 diverse filming locations, is a world-class destination for large-scale film and television productions,”

If our province can generate income from Alberta’s natural environment and let the rest of us continue to enjoy it as is, that’s a win for all of us. 

So grab your popcorn, settle in, and let’s enjoy the cinematic revival happening right in our own backyard – because when Hollywood meets the Rockies, it’s showtime.

Waterton Lakes National Park  The Latch
With scenery like this it’s easy to see the appeal of landscapes in Alberta for location filming | Waterton Lakes National Park | The Latch

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