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About The Production
Principal photography began in Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies

Principal photography began in Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. The company shot for one week before moving to Vancouver, B.C.

Production designer Cynthia Charette wanted the feeling of movement in this cross-country film, but recognized that continual location shifts were largely required within one city. "Imagine trying to travel across America in one city," says Charette. "That was a challenge."

Clearly, an understatement. Producers chose the versatile city of Vancouver, British Columbia, to recreate the look of several American towns in California, New York, Nebraska and Wisconsin. "Because the nature of the film is a travelogue from the west coast to the east, we really hit every Lower Mainland community that exists," says co-producer Justis Greene.

One memorable location was Fort Langley, B.C., used as the site of 150 fully-costumed Santas running a five kilometer marathon. "Shooting in Fort Langley was a blessing," says Charette. "It's one of the few real towns outside of Vancouver that has a beautiful, historic look that can pass as a small town in America."

Co-producer Greene recalls, "The main street of Fort Langley is a provincial highway as opposed to just a normal street. It's surrounded by residential neighborhoods. To divert heavy traffic through the neighborhoods wasn't acceptable."

Producers approached Interfor, a local pulp and paper mill, and asked the company for permission to divert traffic from the provincial highway through Interfor property on their private road. Rerouting local traffic allowed the municipality to close the provincial highway in order to film the Santa marathon safely.

Among the other filming sites in the Vancouver area were Shaughnessy, an exclusive residential neighborhood transformed into a picture-postcard Christmas scene complete with an evening holiday parade, and Edgemont village in North Vancouver, which doubled for the staging area of the parade. In addition, the filmmakers created a "Turf and Turf" restaurant out of the unique Cloverdale Keg steakhouse, which came complete with a large viewing window into an equestrian center. In the hands of Cynthia Charette and director Arlene Sanford, the restaurant became a tongue-in-cheek play on "Surf and Turf" when, through the window in the film, we see a herd of cattle.

"It's supposed to be Nebraska, like Route 66," explains Charette. "First, we built a thirty-two feet high bleached cow skull that you had to walk through to enter the restaurant," she laughs. "Second, the restaurant was changed so that patrons were dining with a table-side view of the cows. Just like you pick out the lobster of your choice, only instead you're picking out your cow. And the cow's right up at the window mooing at you."

Later, Charette also transformed Richmond's Fantasy Gardens into the exterior of a Bavarian hotel, the Strudelstrasse Inn. An additional challenge to the filmmakers was finding a location city that could be easily modified into a winter wonderland in May -- a process that started nearly three months before filming began.

"We started scouting for this film last January," explains Charette. "At the time, I was seeing places with snow and trees that looked perfect for shooting right then. But by the time we went back to shoot, it was April and it was like a green, beautiful forest."

"I have to be honest," indicates co-p


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