When news broke that a mystery guest had booked the entire Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta for nine weeks this spring, speculation began. Was it The Royals? An A-list celebrity keeping international travel under wraps? A local star looking for a getaway?
It appears the answer is equally intriguing: the lodge is reportedly the site of filming for the next season of “The Bachelorette.”
“The Bachelorette” is a spin-off of the popular “Bachelor” franchise, only instead there’s a Bachelorette being wooed by a series of potential male suitors. This would mark the 17th season of the franchise.
Beloved for its tropes and conventions, this is the first time the flagship “Bachelor” franchise has planted its feet north of the border. And while three seasons of “The Bachelor Canada” gave us all sorts of maple innuendos, there are plenty more to be mined, especially in a unique setting like Alberta during a pandemic.
WATCH: 5 crazy “Bachelorette” moments. Story continues below.
As someone who’s spent the majority of my life as a single person in Alberta, I know a thing or two about finding love in the province. Namely, the cold is no joke and a hiking date may sound great on paper, but the reality is much different.
While we don’t know who the new Bachelorette will be, here are a few tips from an Albertan for the incoming “Bachelorette” stars.
Alberta is Canada’s fourth-largest province, and the largest of the three prairie provinces. It’s located north of Montana, east of British Columbia, west of Saskatchewan and south of the Northwest Territories.
There are two main cities, Edmonton and Calgary, whose personal identities are largely made up of hating each other.
Jasper, where the series will be filmed, is located in a national park and arguably is the most beautiful part of the province (though Banff would have something to say about it). The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the hotel at the centre of the rumoured filming, is made up of a series of scenic log structures spread out over 700 acres. And yes, there is a heated outdoor pool.
Finally, despite what Canadian stereotypes you may have heard, Albertans do not drink milk from bags! We also are generally “meh” on the Toronto Raptors, but fully embrace hockey culture and the sweet taste of Tim Hortons.
Food and drink
Anyone familiar with the “Bachelor” franchise knows that getting super drunk is often part of the deal. Thankfully, Alberta’s got a ton of craft beer options, including the Jasper Brewing Company right there in Jasper. The province is also home to several distilleries and other providers, so we know the contestants will be well-hydrated.
Jasper presents a beautiful home base for contestants and there are a variety of COVID-safe Alberta date options at their fingertips. Hikes in the beautiful Rockies and the nearby Columbia Icefield provide plenty of scenic shots for both group and solo dates. And getting lost on a hike and bickering about the directions while you both get progressively colder is a great way to bring people together.
It’s hard to tell where COVID-19 restrictions will be at that point, but if the production team opts to expand into other parts of Alberta, a camping trip to the badlands or a walk through Edmonton’s river valley could be great date fodder. If the ‘Bachelorette’ is a hockey fan, an outdoor screening of an Oilers game under the stars may be in order.
Most of all, we’d better get a proposal on a glacier.
What about COVID-19?
While the contestants of the franchise frequently boast that they “aren’t there to make friends,”does Alberta even want them there? Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw was asked about the rumoured filming this week, and says the province will ensure Albertans are kept safe from any pesky TV show contestants.
“As we look to any decisions that we make, No. 1 is whether or not there’s any risk to the public, whether any of the activities could potentially cause spread or cause a public risk,” she said Tuesday
“And then, No. 2, as we consider any potential requests for exemptions, we also consider the broader public interest and what might be in that broader public interest. And again that’s part of these considerations as we look to this film industry framework that we’re working on.”
Finally a bold suggestion — rather than telling contestants they’re getting the boot by not giving them a rose, perhaps the Alberta Bachelorette can tell them they’ve been “Wexited.” Because really, provincial separatism and finding out you won’t be engaged to someone you met on a TV show are basically the same thing.
Alternatively, a simple “will you accept this pipeline” could work in place of the roses. Though to be fair, Premier Jason Kenney has tried that line on U.S. President Joe Biden to little success.