Yukon's reality TV bonanza continues

Yukon's Klondike region is 'hot' right now, among film and TV producers. The Yukon Film and Sound Commission says this could be one of the busiest years for new and returning  TV shows.

Popular shows mine a rich vein of fascination with the Klondike

Filming in the Yukon. A new government ad, hoping to capture some other winter scenes, has caused controversy for requiring two Caucasian actors to play in featured roles. (The Yukon Film & Sound Commission )

The Yukon is turning out to be all the rage for fact-based and reality television, with several popular shows going back into production this year.

Dr.Oakley:Yukon VetGold Rush and Yukon Gold are set to begin filming again in the territory, and a BBC crew is also expected to film a two-part series on the Gold Rush. 

"The Yukon has become hot," said Iris Merritt, of the Yukon Film & Sound Commission.  
Film crew at work on the popular 'Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet'. (Yukon Film & Sound Commission)

She said compared to last year, there are going to be more productions heading to the Yukon.

One of the most popular Yukon-based TV shows right now is Gold Rush. It will soon start filming its seventh season near Dawson City.

Merritt says in 2014, the show put a million dollars into the Yukon economy, and created the equivalent of 51 full time jobs.

She said she was recently at a trade show in London when she ran into a broadcaster asking about the Yukon. 

Merritt said she was told, "and I quote, 'give me anything you got about the Yukon. The Yukon is so hot right now. I've got to get a show going on there now.'

'We are seeing visitors that want to see where the TV shows are filmed,' said Paul Robitaille of the Klondike Visitors Association. (Paul Robitaille)

That's good news for Paul Robitaille of the Dawson City-based Klondike Visitors Association. He says popular TV shows have a big impact on tourism.

"The great thing is that they know that we are actively mining here in Dawson which is one of the biggest selling points to people who come and visit the area," he said. 

"And increasingly, we are seeing visitors that want to see where the TV shows are filmed, and they want to see how we mine." 

'Real Yukoners'

Another original gold mining show currently airing its fourth season is Yukon Gold.

Produced by Canadian company Paperney Entertainment, the factual-based reality show airs on The History Channel.

Producer David Paperny holding gold bars on the set of 'Yukon Gold.' (Paperny Entertainment )

David Paperney is getting ready to produce season five of the popular show. He says the show's success is "real Yukoners". 

"[Viewers] love the drama that goes on in a gold mine. They love the sense of independence and mindfulness that gold miners bring to their work."

Paperney also says audiences like the competition the miners have, and wondering who might hit the motherlode and become rich with gold.

Local filmmakers ride the wave

Some local filmmakers are hoping to tap into the current interest in Yukon.

A workshop for Yukon filmmakers, hosted by the Screen Production Yukon Association (SPYA). (The Screen Production Yukon Association )

Screen Production Yukon Association (SPYA) president Chris McNutt says it's become easier for Yukoners to access funding and have their productions make it to air.

McNutt says the Yukon attracts interesting people doing interesting things, and there is a huge appetite for that among people who don't live here. 

"There has always been a history in the North of interesting people."

 Many Yukoners hope this trend will continue.