With the much-anticipated episode nine season finale of HBO’s “The Last of Us” airing Sunday, the show’s fans are preparing for a potentially long wait until the next season.
Before you enter your sleep pod to wait out the new content, however, there’s still much you can do to get your fungal fix. The series is set in the U.S., but a majority of the filming took place in Alberta — and that means you can follow Joel and Ellie’s footsteps without leaving the country.
“The Last of Us,” based on Naughty Dog’s hit 2013 video game of the same name, takes place in the postapocalyptic future where a strain of fungus has evolved to take over humans, turning them into zombies. The show follows grizzled survivor Joel as he escorts young Ellie, who may be humanity’s last hope against the infection, across the country.
With a budget of over $100 million, “The Last of Us” is the biggest film project in Alberta’s history.Here are seven locations from the show that you can visit today.
Alberta’s biggest city was host to some of the most memorable scenes from the show, from preinfection suburbs shown in episode one to multiple shots of decrepit cityscapes in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.
You might recognize Calgary’s Hotel Arts as the Boston Museum shown in the show, or Calgary’s 4th Avenue Flyover — a major overpass into the downtown core — as the empty, heavily digitized path into the Massachusetts State House.
Downtown Calgary also made multiple appearances as “Kansas City,” though the area’s not actually in ruins in real life. Since you’re in the area, check out the nearby Bridgeland neighbourhood filled with trendy shops — and don’t miss the city’s growing food scene, which is so much more than beef (contrary to the Albertan stereotype).
The show also shot many urban scenes in Alberta’s capital. You might recognize the Massachusetts State House as being Edmonton’s Alberta Legislature Building, for example.
Edmonton’s downtown — especially 100A Street, 104 Street and 108 Street — were heavily featured early on in the series as postapocalyptic urban sprawl. In real life, the vibrant downtown core is host to far more boutique stores than fungus zombies, much to our disappointment.
While downtown, make your way to the 4th Street Promenade, a small neighbourhood with equal measures of iconic restaurants, upscale shopping and historic buildings. And, while Edmonton isn’t usually thought of as a culinary hot spot, that’s quickly changing — don’t miss these delicious dining options.
The show’s stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have gone on record as saying Canmore was their favourite location to film, to the surprise of no one who’s visited the town.
This charming mountain town nestled against the Rockies is perfect for outdoorsy-types craving adventure. In the winter, the location is host to plenty of ski trails and dog sledding opportunities — just make sure to pack extra layers.
In the show, Canmore was transformed into Jackson, Wyoming — a fully-functioning postapocalyptic city complete with its own electricity and running water. Be sure to check out the historic Canmore Engine Bridge, which Joel and Ellie crossed on their way into town.
Located just a 30-minute drive from Calgary, the town of High River’s Beachwood Estates neighbourhood was the location of Bill’s compound in episode three and the setting of a heart-wrenching love story.
Beachwood Estates was evacuated following a 2013 flood that forced roughly 120,000 people from their homes. In the years since, the area — once host to million dollar homes — has been returned to its natural state as a floodplain, with all homes, roads and utilities removed.
After you’ve finished exploring the area, there’s still plenty left to do in the town of High River — the area contains nearly 30 kilometres of hiking and/or biking trails. In warmer weather, animal lovers should check out the birdwatching at Frank Lake Conservation Area.
Close watchers might recognize Nanton’s Ranchland Inn as the setting for one of episode five’s key moments — but did you know the motel also made an appearance in the second season finale of “Fargo”?
You’ve obviously got your stay in Nanton already figured out, but during the day, make sure to visit the town’s historic main street with its picture-perfect museums. If you’re visiting during the summer, don’t miss the Nanton Nite Rodeo, which happens every weekend during the season.
Waterton Lakes National Park
This gorgeous national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site took centre stage in the show’s episode eight, where Ellie was forced to fight for her and Joel’s lives. The actual location is just as beautiful as the show, but without the mortal danger.
As a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the park is incredibly rich in both scenery and biodiversity, with dramatic alpine and glacial features. It is also one of Canada’s 13 dark sky preserves — locations free from artificial lights that would otherwise drown out the stars. On a clear night, you can spot the Milky Way and more.
Situated on the border with the U.S., Waterton Lakes was combined with Glacier National Park in Montana in 1932, becoming the world’s first Peace Park.
This small town two hours from Calgary has been a favourite of Hollywood in recent years, having been the film site of blockbusters like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Interstellar,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and, most recently, “The Last of Us.”
Take a walk down Main Street, one of the main locations of episode one and a designated Provincial Historic Area, and see how many landmarks from popular movies you can recognize.
Once you’re done, drive 20 minutes west to Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, another UNESCO World Heritage Site that was traditionally used by local Indigenous Peoples to hunt buffalo for nearly 6,000 years.
Finally, once you’ve completed your tour of locations from “the Last of Us,” you can return to waiting for season two with bated breath like the rest of us.
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