Kitchener-Waterloo

Christmas movies filmed in Cambridge set to hit the small screen

There are three Christmas movies set to hit the small screen this holiday season that have a local connection: two had scenes filmed in Cambridge and one was filmed at Cruickston Park in North Dumfries.

A Christmas Duet, The Magical Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Temp to debut soon

The Magical Christmas Shoes stars Damon Runyan and Erin Karpluk. Much of the movie was filmed at Reids Chocolates in Cambridge and director Robin Dunne says they even changed the name of the store in the script to Reids for the movie. (Handout/C/P XMAS SPEC I PRODUCTIONS INC)

A Christmas Duet premieres Friday at 8 p.m. on W Network.

The Magical Christmas Shoes airs Saturday at 8 p.m. on Super Channel.

The Christmas Temp airs Dec. 24 at 6:30 p.m. on Super Channel.

Three movies premiering in the next few weeks have a local connection: two have scenes filmed in Cambridge and one was filmed at an estate in North Dumfries.

The one with the biggest Cambridge presence is The Magical Christmas Shoes, which was filmed at Reids Chocolate, Candy and Nut Shop in Galt in August.

That film airs Saturday on Super Channel.

The story goes: John Reid (played by Damon Runyan) owns a candy shop that's about to close and he gets help from branding expert Kayla Hummel (played by Erin Karpluk who many will know from the TV show Being Erica). The twist? Kayla has some magic shoes that lead her to take some chances and find love.

In real life, the candy shop is owned by siblings Carrie Peart and Ted Drew-Smith. Drew-Smith was on site for a lot of the filming and was an extra for one of the final scenes.

"We've never done anything like this before, and we certainly didn't think they were going to use our name and our branding and our packaging and stuff like that," Drew-Smith said.

He says he watched the whole process as director Robin Dunne worked with the cast and crew.

"It was just really, really neat, and I'm so fortunate to be able to do that, and it makes it even better that was in our business, too, so it's a really, really great experience," Drew-Smith said.

Cambridge a welcoming film locale

Dunne is an actor originally from Toronto and recently starred in three Christmas movies set to come out soon.

He says filming in Cambridge was the perfect fit for The Magical Christmas Shoes

"It's just such a picturesque place. You know you've got that beautiful river running through it, the old architecture. It's just a place that really lends itself well to making films," Dunne said in an interview from Los Angeles.

"You go to … certain cities that are not very happy that you're shooting there, but we found that in Cambridge it was the opposite. People were very excited that we were there, even people who would come by Reids candy and we would have to say, 'Look, sorry, actually the store's closed because we're shooting in here.'They weren't so disappointed as sort of interested in what we were doing."

The Christmas Temp stars two Canadian actors: Sara Canning and Robin Dunne. Filming for this movie took place at Cruickston Park in North Dumfries. (Handout/C/P XMAS SPEC I PRODUCTIONS INC)

Cruickston Park backdrop to films

The other Christmas movie recently shot in Cambridge was A Christmas Duet. It stars Chaley Rose (who is on the TV show Nashville) and Rome Flynn (The Bold and the Beautiful, How to Get Away With Murder) and will air Friday at 8 p.m. on W Network.

In this film, former chart-topping singing duo Averie and Jesse (known, of course, for their song Wouldn't Be Christmas) reconnect over the holidays and end up making beautiful music together.

Devon Hogue, with Cambridge's economic development office, says that movie involved just one day of shooting, and it was mostly exterior shots on Main Street. 

"I really don't think we're going to see too much other than maybe some walk and talk scenes, but it's still exciting," Hogue said.

There's also The Christmas Temp, which was filmed at Cruickston Park in North Dumfries. That location is a well-known filming spot for shows like Murdoch Mysteries, Handmaid's Tale and Hardy Boys.

The film stars Dunne and fellow Canadian actress Sara Canning (Series of Unfortunate Events, Vampire Diaries). In it, an out-of-work artist finds work (and love) at a special Christmas temp agency.

Hogue says she thinks Cambridge and the surrounding area is perfect for films like this because the area is beautiful, historic and well-preserved.

A Christmas Duet stars Rome Flynn and Chaley Rose. Some filming for the movie was done in Cambridge along Main Street. (Hallmark Channel)

That's part of the appeal for Robin Dunne.

"They're tapping into this nostalgic feeling of Christmas that many of us have," he said.

When he first started making Christmas movies, he thought the movies were for a very specific group of people. But after sitting down and watching a marathon of made-for-TV Christmas movies, he says he understood the purpose and the appeal to a wider audience.

"They don't ask too much of you. They just take you by the hand and take you on this nice journey, and I think that people love it, particularly in this day and age, right? There's a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world, and I think people like that escapism."

You can watch any of the three Christmas films shot locally on Super Channel and W Network:

  • A Christmas Duet premieres Friday at 8 p.m. on W Network.
  • The Magical Christmas Shoes airs Saturday at 8 p.m. on Super Channel.
  • The Christmas Temp airs Dec. 24 at 6:30 p.m. on Super Channel. 
Two movies coming out over the month of December had scenes shot in Cambridge, including The Magical Christmas Shoes which was filmed at Reids Chocolates, as well as A Christmas Duet, which filmed some outdoor scenes along Main Street. Also, a third movie called The Christmas Temp was filmed at Cruickston Estate in North Dumfries. 6:18

Clarifications

  • A change in schedule has bumped The Christmas Temp from its original time on Dec. 23. It will now air on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
    Dec 02, 2019 12:12 PM ET

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