Christmas is in the air, albeit a little early this year, in downtown Duncan this week.
City Square and the surrounding areas have been thoroughly decorated for the festive season as a backdrop for a new Hallmark series called Holidazed.
Russ Hamilton, the location manager for Holidazed Productions Inc. that is making the production for Hallmark, said filming for the series was meant to be done wholly in Victoria and Oak Bay, but a decision was made to film a portion of it in downtown Duncan because it makes the perfect backdrop for parts of the production as it’s a great small town and the people are very welcoming.
“Downtown Duncan has the vibe and energy of a small town that is hard to find anywhere in Victoria,” Hamilton said.
“The site is also easier to control than in Victoria and there is less disruptions on the streets of downtown Duncan.”
The series, which is set in Oak Bay, Oregon, is about five families living on the same cul-de-sac who share their lives during the hectic Christmas season.
The scenes being filmed in Duncan are of these families each visiting a Christmas night market.
“The production will be in eight episodes in which the first one explores all of the families, followed by episodes focusing on each individual family, and it all comes together in the final episodes,” Hamilton said.
“It’s first time Hallmark has made a production like this in B.C. Holidazed will not be completed in time for this Christmas season, but it will be available for Christmas 2023 on Peacock and streaming services.”
This may be the first time a series has been filmed here, but it is not the first time a Hallmark movie have been filmed in Cowichan.
In 2021, portions of The Baker’s Son were filmed in Chemainus, Cowichan Bay, Brentwood Bay and Oak Bay. Filming for Holidazed, which began in Duncan on Tuesday after work crews spent days decorating and preparing the area, is taking place in City Square and the 200 block of Craig Street for much of the rest of the week.
Hamilton said dozens of local people are being used in the film as background actors, and the businesses in the area are also actively involved in the production.
“It’s very inclusive and we’re pleased to make as many local people and businesses part of the production as possible,” he said.
“We’re also handing out Downtown Duncan Dollars (gift certificates from the Downtown Duncan BIA that can be used at most shops in the area) to hand out to anyone that the production has disrupted to bring then back to downtown to shop.”
Hamilton assured the public that downtown businesses will remain open during the filming as it is taking place at night, although some vehicle and pedestrian traffic can be expected to be impeded at certain times.
He said the Duncan Farmers’ Market will continue as usual in the area on Saturday.