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Go Behind The Scenes

From the prairies to Canada's vast boreal forest that stretches almost from coast to coast, we reveal a huge wilderness of extremes that has been shaped over millennia by both humans and wildfires. Here pronghorn antelope, the fastest hoofed land animal on earth, still haunt the grasslands, the elusive wolverine thrives in the icy remote northern forests and beaver share their cozy lodges with grateful muskrats.

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Pronghorn antelope
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Jeff Turner
The Wild Canada team had 27 staff... ...and filmed a total of 51 species.

One of them – bison.
Wild Canada team on location
Algonquin Park, Ontario
Kieran O'Donovan
Bison
Cardston, Alberta
Amanda McNaughton
Researcher Chelsea Turner bravely stood guard – with a big stick – while director Jeff Turner filmed and actors waited nearby in the grass. On location with bison
Cardston, Alberta
Sue Turner
Finally a high tech alternative was brought in to help with the job. Octocopter
Cardston, Alberta
Amanda McNaughton
Wild Canada recreated the journey of Radisson and Groseilliers, two French brothers-in-law who traveled from Trois-Rivières, Québec down the St. Lawrence into the then vast wilderness of Canada's Great Lakes on an ambitious venture that launched the fur trade.
Recreation
Trois-Rivières, Québec
Amanda McNaughton

This shot is a recreation of the flotilla of the one hundred canoes that returned from the expedition. But it's actually the same team of six canoeists – paddling up and down that lake dozens of times. After every trip they changed their costumes and props slightly to create a new, unique silhouette.

In the edit suite the director had to composite them all together. An exhausting day for the paddlers – but a great sequence that captured a sense of what it must have really looked like then.

Recreation
Trois-Rivières, Québec
Jeff Turner

Researcher Chelsea Turner searched high and low for those three birch bark canoes – replicas of what would have been used for the journey hundreds of years ago.

"These canoes were built for the feature film 'Black Robe' that was shot in eastern Canada a decade ago. It told the story of a Jesuit priest who spent time among the First Nations people of this region."
- Chelsea Turner

These canoes are fibreglass replicas that look like birch bark, but are much hardier, and can stand up to the demands of filming.

Cameraman Andrew Manske waded in knee deep to get up close and personal to a beaver family as it frolicked in the lake during the summer...
Near the beaver lodge
Elk Island, Alberta
Phil Chapman

...but it was much more challenging to see them in the dead of winter - under all that lake ice.

Watch assistant producer Ben Wallis tell us how - very patiently - he captured footage of beavers swimming under the lake ice.
Setting up the gear
Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
Kieran O'Donovan
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