The Hallmark Channel’s newest Countdown to Christmas movie, “Christmas Island,” premieres on Saturday, November 11, at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. The movie stars Rachel Skarsten and Andrew Walker. Read on to learn all the details about where the movie was filmed and the cast who are bringing Christmas magic to life.
‘Christmas Island’ Was Filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada & Marks a First for Hallmark
The new Countdown to Christmas movie, “Christmas Island,” was filmed in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, according to IMDb. Cast members shared that Halifax was the main location for filming in Nova Scotia, along with Lunenberg and Peggy’s Cove. The movie was filmed in August.
In an interview with Heavy, Walker said that this is the first Hallmark movie that was both filmed in Canada and whose script takes place in the same Canadian region too. Hallmark movies typically are shot in Canada but then the storylines take place in U.S. towns.
This one’s an exception and that brings a lot of authenticity to the flim. Walker shared that one scene takes place with a Bluenose sailboat in the background, which is also featured on the back of Canada’s dime.
“I hadn’t seen Nova Scotia for 30 years,” Walker told Heavy. “So to spend a month there was really, truly special.” (You can read Walker’s full interview with Heavy here.)
Ann Pirvu, who shared that her fiance produced the movie, said this is the first Hallmark original movie to feature Nova Scotia.
Kate Drummond, who plays Helen Sharpe in the movie, was equally excited about filming a movie whose plot is set in Canada. She wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter): “You’ll see lots of Nova Scotia in this movie, because it is actually set IN Nova Scotia… not Nova Scotia pretending to be somewhere else!”
Interestingly, there’s an actual Christmas Island in Nova Scotia. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive (or 343 kilometers) from Halifax to Christmas Island. In 2019, CBC reported that Christmas Island is a small town of just about 300 residents, but it gets a lot of attention every holiday season. Cards and packages from around the world flood the post office every year — as many as 14,000 in a single holiday season. That’s because Christmas Island has a special postmark that they use on packages every season.
But the new movie wasn’t filmed on Christmas Island itself. Rather, it was filmed in the Nova Scotia locations of Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, and Halifax, 1015 The Hawk reported. Yahoo reported that even though the movie was filmed at those three locations, it still uses Christmas Island’s post office tradition in the movie.
Lauren Hammersley shared some behind-the-scenes photos tagged at Peggy’s Cove.
Writer Samantha Herman said this is her 11th movie for the network, and she’s excited it’s set in her hometown.
“Proud to say my 11th Hallmark premieres 11/11. And this one is set in my Canadian homeland. Come for the plaid, stay for the regional dialect,” Herman wrote.
Drummond also talked about filming in Halifax. She wrote: “Shooting this movie was a highlight of my year… filming in Halifax, with the most incredible people… old friends, new friends… My first ever Christmas movie too! My heart was so damn happy to be going to work everyday (if you can even call it work, when you’re doing what you love).”
They filmed in late August, she revealed in another post.
She loved filming in Halifax.
In one tweet, she shared the view from her hotel room:
In a separate Instagram post, she said the shoot was “nothing short of amazing” and her heart “needed this more than I can say.”
Jefferson Brown, who stars in “The Way Home,” is also in the movie. He tweeted that they had a great time.
Another filming location was in Stonehurst, located in Lunenburg County.
Will Coombs wrote that topping the filming location is going to be tough.
Skarsten also shared some behind-the-scenes photos.
Walker said the movie is one of his top three favorites to make.
Meet the Cast
Hallmark’s synopsis reads: “When a snowstorm diverts Kate’s first private flight en route to Switzerland to Christmas Island, she must team up with an air traffic controller to secure her dream job as the family’s pilot.”
Rachel Skarsten plays Kate. According to her bio, she’s well known for her role as Black Canary/Dinah Lance in “Birds of Prey” on The WB, and as Tamsin in the Syfy series “Lost Girl.” She also starred as Queen Elizabeth I in The CW’s “Reign” and has had guest appearances on “Wynonna Earp” and “Imposters.” On the big screen, she’s been in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “The Vow,” “Molly’s Game,” and the drama “Acquainted.” Right now, she’s the villain Alice in The CW’s “Batwoman.” And don’t forget, she recently starred in “The Royal Nanny” on the Hallmark Channel.
Andrew Walker plays Oliver. In the world of Hallmark, he has been captivating fans for over a decade. According to his bio, he debuted on the network in “A Bride for Christmas.” Since then, he’s taken on the leading role in more than 20 Hallmark movies, including beloved holiday favorites like “A Dream of Christmas,” “Love on Ice,” “The Perfect Catch,” “Love Struck Café,” “Bottled with Love,” “Merry & Bright,” “My Christmas Family Tree,” “Christmas on My Mind,” last year’s “Maple Valley Christmas,” the recent movie “A Safari Romance,” and the highly-praised hit film “Three Wise Men and a Baby,” which premiered during last year’s Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas event.
In addition to his Hallmark success, Walker’s acting talents were recognized with the Borsos Award at the Whistler Film Festival for his role in the feature film “Steel Toes.” His feature film credits also include “Oxalis,” which he also had a hand in producing, “God Bless the Broken Road,” “Loaded,” and “Blindsided,” where he shared the screen with stars like Michelle Monaghan and Michael Keaton. Notable TV appearances include roles in “Against the Wall,” “ER,” and “Without a Trace.”
Kate Drummond is Helen Sharpe. According to her bio, her many credits include “Heartland,” “Five Days at Memorial,” “The Man from Toronto,” “Ghostwriter,” a voice in the game “Immortals Fenyx Rising,” “Utopia Falls” (10 episodes), “Wynonna Earp,” and more.
Jefferson Brown is Thomas Sharpe. Many Hallmark fans know him from his leading role on Hallmark’s “The Way Home.” His many other credits include “Murdoch Mysteries,” “Slasher,” “Ghostwriter,” “Masters of Romance,” “When Hope Calls,” “Spinning Out,” “Carrie,” and more.
Also starring, according to Hallmark, are:
- Peter MacNeill (Jim MacLeod)
- Lauren Hammersley (Maggie Hughes)
- Britt Loder (Cali Sharpe)
- Lincoln MacNeil (Finn Sharpe)
- Will Combs (Shane Hughes)
- Anthony Jackson (Derrick Murray)
- Martina Kelades (Robin Saltz)
- Andrew Bigelow (Pilot)
- Shelley Thompson (Donna)
- Lee J. Campbell (Santa)
If you miss the premiere, you can catch it again on these dates:
- Sunday, November 12: 6/5c
- Thursday, November 16: 8/7c
- Monday, November 20: 10/9c
- Wednesday, November 29: 2a/1c
- Friday, December 8: 4/3c
- Wednesday, December 13: 6a/5c
- Saturday, December 23: 8/7c
- Sunday, December 31: 10a/9c
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