Northern Lights, Camera, Action!


The history of production in northern Canada stretches back further than you might think. Ever since the early 20th century, filmmakers from Canada and across the world have set up productions in the North, taking advantage of its rich storytelling possibilities and dramatic landscapes.


From a gold-rush-era love story to a sketch show for young Inuit children, we’ve mapped some of the notable feature films, documentaries and TV series that have been shot in northern Canada over nearly a century.


Winds of Chance (1925)

Among the first Hollywood motion pictures ever shot in northern Canada, this silent film depicts a love triangle set against the turn-of-the-century gold rush.


Production company: First National Pictures

Filming location: Dawson City, Yukon

The White Dawn (1974)

Three stranded whalers are rescued by local villagers; soon, cultural tensions begin to fester. Features an Inuit supporting cast.


Production company: First National Pictures

Filming location: Dawson City, Yukon

Map of the Human Heart (1992)

This critically acclaimed co-production between Canada, Australia, the UK and France centres on an Inuk boy’s long quest to find his true love, a Métis girl named Albertine.


Production companies: Map Films (Canada), Les Films Ariane (France), PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (UK), Working Title Films (UK), Sunrise Pictures Company (Australia)

Filming location: Iqaluit, Nunavut

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

Zacharias Kunuk’s masterpiece is the very first film written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut. It premiered at Cannes and won the prized Caméra d’Or.


Production company: Igloolik Isuma Productions

Filming location: Igloolik, Nunavut

Ice Road Truckers (2007-)

This documentary series portrays the grueling, dangerous work of truck drivers who guide their 18-wheelers over frozen lakes and rivers.


Production companies: Eagle Vision and Original Productions

Filming locations: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Manitoba

Ice Pilots NWT (2009-2014)

This hit documentary series showcases the day-to-day work of Buffalo Airways, a Yellowknife airline with a fleet of World War II–era propeller planes.


Production company: Omnifilm Entertainment

Filming locations: Yellowknife and Hay River, Northwest Territories

Arctic Air (2012-2014)

This series portrays a family who owns a Yellowknife-based airline. Fun fact: the Buffalo Airways hangar from Ice Pilots NWT can be seen in some episodes.


Production company: Omnifilm Entertainment

Filming locations: Yellowknife, Hay River and Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories

Yukon Gold (2013-2017)

The gold rush is far from over. This documentary series depicts the intense daily work of mining crews who battle the elements to find gold.


Production company: Entertainment One

Filming location: Klondike, Yukon

Polar Bear Town (2015)

This series depicts the yearly influx of tourist hordes to Churchill, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” and the dangers that come with a roaming caravan of hungry bears.


Production company: Merit Motion Pictures

Filming location: Churchill, Manitoba

Angry Inuk (2016)

In this documentary, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril examines the negative impacts that anti-sealing campaigns have had on Inuit communities.


Production companies: Unikkaat Studios and the NFB

Filming location: Nunavut

The Grizzlies (2018)

Based on a true story, this film shows Inuit youth in a small northern community gaining a sense of pride and purpose through lacrosse.


Production company: Northwood Entertainment

Filming location: Iqaluit, Nunavut

Anaana’s Tent (2018)

This new children’s variety series uses live action, puppets and animation to teach children about Inuit culture and values, as well as basic words in Inuktitut.


Production company: Taqqut Productions

Filming location: Iqaluit, Nunavut