Close this search box.
Close this search box.
an image of ellie huddled next to joe who has a rifle slung over his back with fungus climbing the wall behind them

How Canmore Was Transformed Into A Post-Apocalyptic Town For HBO’s The Last of Us

The TV adaptation needed urban and Western locations that mirrored their American counterparts while giving a post-apocalyptic vibe

HBO’s new mega-hit show, The Last of Us, is based on the action-adventure video game of the same name. The video game is unforgiving as you try to survive while fending off hordes of zombies infected with a fatal fungus.

However, when players aren’t fighting for their lives, they can explore the post-apocalyptic United States. From the streets of Pittsburgh overrun by nature to the stunning view of Jackson, Wyoming, the game features countless memorable locations.

With that in mind, the TV version of The Last of Us had some big shoes to fill. The show needed urban and Western locations that mirrored their American counterparts while giving a post-apocalyptic vibe.

It turns out HBO didn’t have to look far! In fact, just across the border,

“We can talk jobs, we can talk financial, but I think longer term for us; it’s how people see our world here…Calgary and Alberta is an ‘A’-level market for film and television,” Luke Azevedo, Calgary Economic Development’s film commissioner told CBC News.

The American prestige television network fell in love with Alberta.

How could they not? After all, Jackson’s Teton mountains can’t hold a candle to the Canadian Rockies!

Although, we must admit that TheRockie.Life may be a bit biased.

If you want to immerse yourself in The Last of Us without all the danger, a trip to Canmore may be worthwhile!

From Canmore, Alberta, to Jackson, Wyoming

a road view of the jackson community in the last of us covered in snow with members of the community riding horses and the rockies in the background
Canmore transformed into the fictional Jackson community in HBO’s The Last of Us | MobileSyrup

In the HBO show, Jackson is a town in Wyoming where Joel and Ellie end up during their journey across America. The pair walk across a bridge over the River of Death to get there.

This bridge was none other than Canmore’s famous Engine Bridge, which was built back in the 1890s! Jackson is introduced in episode six, titled ‘Kin,’ and portrays Jackson as a tight-knit community of survivors.

However, there are some differences between the TV show and the original video game. In the game, Jackson is a concrete structure surrounded by overgrown plants and military equipment.

In HBO’s TV version, Jackson resembles the town featured in the second game, The Last of Us Part ll. Jackson is a busy Old West town full of survivors in the sequel game.

According to the show’s production designer John Paino, this decision was made because the show had enough concrete. Instead, they wanted to capture the natural beauty of the Midwest.

pedro pascal and bella ramsey on the set of the last of us
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey on the set of HBO’s The Last of Us in Canmore | Liane Hentscher | HBO

“The buildings there have a real rustic feel, and this beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains at the end of its main street,” John Paino, production designer for The Last of US, told Los Angeles Times.

Jackson has several notable features, including a bar, grand hall, operational theatre, and a hydroelectric dam. In both the games and the show, the dam is the town’s beating heart and provides it with power.

The show’s production team built dummy greenhouses, stables, sidewalks, and railroad ties to transform Canmore into Jackson. The team also created fake exteriors for many of the buildings.

Believe it or not, the wooden barricade ‘surrounding’ Jackson was only 60 feet on both sides and did not disrupt the day-to-day life of Canmore’s residents!

Canmore is gorgeous, but don’t take our word for it! According to an interview with MobileSyrup, actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey fell in love with the town.

“My favourite place that we went to was Canmore, for sure,” commented Ramsey. “Every inch of Canmore was just this magical little town… with really great fudge,” added Pascal.

Share this story

Stories in your Inbox, daily or weekly

Choose the types of stories you receive.

Related Stories