the last of us

Post-Apocalyptic US Looks a lot Like Canada in The Last of Us

Over the course of filming the nine episodes, The Last of Us went to 180 locations, with the glut
of those being in Alberta.

The TV show adaptation of the Naughty Dog video game The Last of Us has been a rousing success for HBO, immersing people into the post-pandemic landscape of the critically- acclaimed games. The cast and story have been stellar, but one of the more breathtaking aspects was the landscapes and scenery.

The story itself takes place across several US cities and locations, including Boston, Kansas City, Colorado, Jackson, Wyoming, and Austin, and another scene even takes place in Indonesia. However, the places that offered such a distinct aesthetic to HBO’s massive audience of 8.2 million viewers for the finale aren’t even in the US.

Where did The Last of Us TV show film its episodes?

A lot of what was presented as settlements and claustrophobic rooms were created by the show’s team from scratch. In one of the more standout episodes, we encounter a Bloater for the first time. This was a huge moment because, as detailed by ExpressVPN’s infographic for The Last of Us, Bloaters have thick fungal growths, spray a deadly gas, and will certainly kill anyone they can grab.

With the Bloater wandering in, the setting became so much more important to the outcome of the scene. So, they built the whole cul-de-sac, designing it from the ground up. A huge amount went into creating the perfect setting for each and every scene, which really does show throughout Season 1.

Still, there are also several scenes set against a more open and natural landscape, and for that, the team decided to go North West. While a few people reportedly pointed out that some of these outdoor scenes didn’t look like they were supposed to, such as in Episode 3, when it’s meant to be west of Boston, for the most part, the team found great locations to pose as the post-apocalyptic US in Canada.

Canada: Home of The Last of Us

Over the course of filming the nine episodes, The Last of Us went to 180 locations, with the glut of those being in Alberta. CNTraveler’s interview piece details that the American West was around Calgary and Edmonton, with the former also standing in for Kansas City. Bill’s house in Episode 3 was built in High River, but the pine trees of Calgary helped to mimic New England’s woodland.

Traveling to experience stunning locations showcased in entertainment certainly isn’t anything new. The Lord of the Rings trilogy continues to serve as an iconic advertisement to visit New Zealand, while Game of Thrones inspired people to go to Northern Ireland, Croatia, and Iceland. The local tourism agency knows this and seeks to help fans find their own slice of post-apocalyptic serenity in the province.

It’s easily the largest production to come to Alberta, so the tourism agency has set up an easy platform to find the filming locations on TravelAlberta’s official site. As their map shows, there’s a lot to explore in and around Calgary, but you’ll also recognize bits in Edmonton, as well as a location much further north, in Grande Prairie.

At the 2023 Academy Awards, the star of the show, Pedro Pascal, was asked about his time in Canada, and the Chilean-born actor swooned over the locations. He said that they couldn’t have made the show without the Canadian landscapes and that he misses the locations.

Season 2 of The Last of Us has been given the green light, and production is expected to take place this year, so we can expect to see more of the stunning Canadian scenery further embed itself in this smash-hit TV show.