Downtown Nanaimo becomes post-apocalyptic streetscape for ‘The Last of Us’

Click to play video: '‘The Last of Us’ season 2 filming transforms Nanaimo streets'
‘The Last of Us’ season 2 filming transforms Nanaimo streets
The post-apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" is back in production for a second season. The HBO runaway hit from last year is shooting in and around British Columbia and Alberta. And as Kylie Stanton reports, if you happen to be around Nanaimo, you may catch a glimpse of the action – May 13, 2024

The show might be called The Last of Us, but the major television production underway is a first for the City of Nanaimo.

“It is quite different,” said Leon Drzewiecki, owner of Nanaimo’s NYLA Fresh Thread clothing store.

“You can see all of the different storefronts – you know, they’re doing all of the grass coming up through the cracks and all of the abandoned cars.”

Click to play video: 'TV blockbuster ‘The Last of Us’ filming in B.C.'
TV blockbuster ‘The Last of Us’ filming in B.C.

Drzeweicki has had a front-row seat as the production crew for the HBO megahit worked to transform the historic downtown core of the Harbour City into a post-apocalyptic American streetscape.

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Drzewiecki has snapped plenty of photos from the rooftop of his clothing store, which have garnered attention from fans around the world.

“Everybody is really positive about the whole thing,” he told Global News.

On Monday, it was ‘lights, camera, action’ as the crew finally started rolling for season 2 of the popular series.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog was given a tour of the set on Monday.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver VFX company honoured at Emmys for Last of Us work'
Vancouver VFX company honoured at Emmys for Last of Us work

Up until now, Krog has remained tight-lipped about what exactly was happening, but the word is finally out.

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“This is a very exciting thing to happen in downtown Nanaimo. I think we are all thrilled to see our downtown being utilized in this way,” he said.

“It’s really good for the economy, it will promote the city.”

The Emmy Award-winning series, based on a hit video game franchise, stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay.

Click to play video: 'Report shows $141M spent in Alberta for ‘The Last of Us’ TV show'
Report shows $141M spent in Alberta for ‘The Last of Us’ TV show

It’s set 20 years into a pandemic caused by a mass fungal infection that causes people to transform into zombie-like creatures.

Season 1 was filmed in Alberta, where it generated an estimated $140 million in economic activity.

Now, with locations in the Lower Mainland and Nanaimo providing the backdrop for the second season, it’s B.C.’s chance to cash in.

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“Our hotel rooms are booked, our meeting rooms are booked,” said Cory Gervais, CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

“We know that transportation, retail, hospitality — anything in hospitality — everything is up right now.”

The Last of Us is believed to be the biggest television show ever filmed in Canada.

An air date for the B.C. shot season has yet to be revealed.

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