Warm winter pushes Edmonton International Airport reality show off course

Balmy winter weather has thrown a bit of a curve ball at camera crews filming a reality TV show about how Edmonton International Airport handles harsh winters.

A Toronto film crew arrived in Edmonton in November to shoot harsh winter conditions at EIA.

A Toronto film crew shooting a reality TV show at Edmonton International Airport expected a harsh winter, but say warm weather has made them focus on other aspects of the airport's everyday happenings. (CBC)

Balmy winter weather has thrown a bit of a curve ball at camera crews filming a reality TV show about how Edmonton International Airport handles harsh winters.

The Toronto-based film crew has been at EIA since November working on a yet to be named series similar to Ultimate Airport Dubai.

As Canada's most northern major international airport, producers picked EIA partly because of its crews' ability to handle Edmonton's typically harsh winters.

It hasn't exactly been the tough winter they expected, associate producer Sam Davis said.

"This is my first time here in Edmonton, and I remember my uncle telling me this place is cold, and there's a lot of snow," Davis said. "So definitely coming in here, we thought an aspect of the show was going to be with the snow."

"But we've been getting incredible things here with the passengers, when we follow the cargo teams. They run an incredible operation here."

Davis said crews have instead focused on passengers' stories, like the proposals and emotional family reunions that happens in the airport.

They've also been following the everyday happenings of the airport's crew, including the cargo and field maintenance teams, airlines and fire and rescue team. The production team recently posted an ad on Kijiji looking for more stories from passengers coming and going from EIA.

Davis said he isn't sure when the show will air. 

"We're here basically trying to be a fly on the wall … we're just trying to get an honest look at what happens here at EIA," Davis said. "Right now, obviously with the weather, it hasn't been crazy snow. (But) we're here following the people of Edmonton, and they've been so awesome. And we've been able to capture that … we've been getting I think the most genuine Edmonton experience we could think of."

A warmer side of Edmonton

Heather Hamilton, EIA's director of public affairs, said despite the lack of snow, freezing and thawing throughout the winter so far has kept the airport busy. The crews that clear the runways are kept busy clearing sidewalks, driveways and parking lots instead of de-icing planes.

Although Edmonton's winter weather was a big draw for the reality show, she said this winter's warm weather might change viewers' stereotypes of Alberta's capital city -- and offer some heartwarming stories of the millions of people who make their way through the airport every year.

"When we talked about doing this series, one of the concerns I had is that people would look at Edmonton and say, 'oh just as I thought, we're iced in 12 months a year,'" Hamilton said. "So I'm actually happy for people to see the opportunity that we're not nearly as cold and frightening as they may have thought.

"But I do think that definitely, this is not a typical winter, so we may have some folks who are looking at it and scratching their heads."


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