It’s looking a lot like Christmas, at least it is on Mill Street in Almonte. The cameras are rolling again with another Christmas movie in the works. This is the fourth movie which The MOB Entertainment has filmed in the town and surrounding area in the last year.
“We love Almonte. It’s a beautiful, friendly town and the older buildings are so well preserved, ” MOB locations manager Ainsle S. Wiggs explains.
The production company, which landed in Almonte in mid-February and will continue to film until March 11, rents space for use in the film and Wiggs has found that people are very willing to let them use an apartment or house for a scene. They also pay for use of the space in the downtown core and for restaurant and local shops, and props for scenery.
A favourite aspect of her job is heading to the site a week before the filming begins. “It’s an opportunity for me to meet and interact with the public and businesses in the town and in the area. People smile and wave and are generally happy to see me,” she says.
Since this isn’t the first time MOB has been in Almonte, many of the local businesses are familiar with Wiggs and some of the other crew members. The film crew enjoy the fact that Almonte is just a 20 minute drive from the Ottawa because most are from the Ottawa area.
The current movie, Christmas Festival of Ice, is about a resident who learns that the lack of funding has caused her town to cancel her ice sculpting competition. As you might guess, she decides the festival must go on and she falls in love.
Much of this movie was filmed outdoors, which presented its own set of challenges due to the mild temperatures, meltdowns and rain recently. The production crew, however is well prepared and gets a little help from refrigerator trucks which can maintain the cool temperatures needed for ice blocks and ice sculptures.
Creativity also comes into play with weather issues. One crew member shared that while filming at Cedarhill Christmas Tree Farm in Pakenham, encasing the ice sculptures in plastic aided in keeping them frozen. The owners were generous in helping move equipment and in providing extra weather gear for people.
The downtown filming location is on Mill Street location, right across from L.G. Lee & Sons, a division of Lee Valley in downtown Almonte. Inga Jutila, an employee at the store got to watch the ice sculpture competition being filmed with many locals sitting on bleachers as the audience.
“Mill Street [wasn’t] blocked and business is still good,” she said. “The film crew is friendly and I remember them from when they filmed, Love on a Limb, in the summer of 2016. Having a movie made here probably attracts some tourists.” A small scene in the movie takes place in the store but Jutila is not in that scene.
Almonte, a scenic and friendly town, truly is a Little Hollywood, and this makes many of the locals very proud.