Brokeback Mountain: Highlighting the Beauty of Alberta's Landscape
Although the Annie Proulx short story is set in Wyoming, Brokeback Mountain, a big winner at the 2005 Academy Awards, was filmed in the south of Alberta, one of Canada's prairie provinces, and home to a swath of the Rocky Mountains.
The setting for them movie gained notoriety for being as entrancing and beautiful as the movie itself.
Alberta is a western Canadian province, home to the capital city of Edmonton, Calgary as well as Rocky Mountain destinations, Banff, Jasper and Canmore. It borders Montana, U.S.A. The bulk of Brokeback Mountain's Canadian filming locations are in the southwest region of the province where the Rocky Mountains loom and lakes are turquoise.
This region of Canada is about 600 miles northwest of Wyoming, was chosen to mimic the Wyoming landscape that frames the love story between the two cowboy protagonists of Brokeback.
The following locations were featured in the film. All are vibrant tourist destinations.
Calgary is the launching pad by which most visitors explore the Rocky Mountains in Alberta as it is the closest major city and has an international airport. Edmonton - three hours north - is another option.
Though Edmonton is the province's capital, Calgary is the more famous Alberta city because it hosts the annual Calgary Stampede and status as the country's oil industry hub.
Calgary is briefly featured in the bar scene where Jake and Lureen get together. Calgary’s combination of good old fashioned hospitality and cultural diversity offers visitors a truly satisfying stay. Drive an hour out of town due west, and you’re in Banff National Park in heart of the Canadian Rockies.
- The bar is Ranchman's. Stop by during the Calgary Stampede and you'll find cowboy fun of the first order. Or join the line dancing lessons most any night for a workout.
- Visit the Tourism Calgary website.
Fort Macleod, Alberta
Scenes in Ennis' apartment and where Ennis meets Cathy late in the movie were shot in Fort Macleod, which is located in the southwest corner of Alberta and named so because it was originally built in the 1880s as a police barracks. Heritage Canada has been working since the 1980s to restore and preserve the town's historic buildings.
- Fort Macleod is now the only Designated Historic Area in the Province of Alberta.
- Fort Macleod's Empress Theatre is the oldest continually-operating theatre in Western Canada.
- Nearby Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that gets its unusual name because it is where indigenous people would drive buffalo herds off a cliff to their deaths.
- A short drive south is Waterton Lakes National Park, with a reputation as one of the most stunningly beautiful parks in North America.
Kananaskis Country, Alberta
The campsite scenes of "Brokeback Mountain" and when Ennis encounters the bear were shot in Kananaskis Country, a protected Alberta park system comprising more than 4,000 square kilometres of protected Rocky Mountain foothills and lakes.
It is a large draw for tourism and recreation and hosted a number of winter olympic sports in 1988.
- Features Nakiska Ski Resort, less than 50 mins. from Calgary and site of 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
- Offers huge range of outdoor activities, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking and skiing.
- Nestled in the northwest is Canmore, the source of many "Brokeback Mountain" images.
In 2017, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday and is giving a gift to all National Parks users: free admission. Read more at Parks Canada.