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A Fond Farewell to Homegrown SANCTUARY – Updated

Syfy’s official cancellation today of our own little sci-fi success story Sanctuary marks the end of an era in Vancouver. For the first time in a decade, American cable network Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi) doesn’t have a single TV series filming here. They began with the sixth season of Stargate SG-1, then Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, mini-series Tin Man and Alice, Caprica, Stargate Universe, pilot Blood and Chrome, Eureka and Sanctuary, which both wrapped filming here last summer.

Until today there was a sliver of hope for a Sanctuary renewal even though the series, co-created by Stargate star Amanda Tapping, Stargate director Martin Wood and Stargate writer Damian Kindler, had to give up its Burnaby studio and even sell sets while it waited for a decision. Finally it came this afternoon: Sanctuary would not be returning for a fifth season, making last year’s fourth season its final one.

“Bloody hell,” tweeted star Amanda Tapping, exactly as her immortal Brit character Helen Magnus would say. She and co-star Robin Dunne will be co-hosting the Leo Awards Gala celebrating the best of BC-produced film and television at the Hotel Vancouver this Saturday night, where Sanctuary has a whopping 18 nominations. Here’s hoping that this is the year Sanctuary takes home the award for Best Dramatic Series. Even if it doesn’t, a good time will be had by Team Sanctuary. Dunne and Damian Kindler even co-hosted last year’s after party.

Sanctuary ended its series with a deadly assault on the abnormal Homeland, filmed mainly at the Terminal City Ironworks complex in east Vancouver, and then the revelation that Helen Magnus had spent the last 140+ years creating a brand-new utopian underground sanctuary with beautifiul natural light, foliage and waterfalls for abnormals. It could have led to the next chapter in the saga but also served as a great place to leave it. I do regret not having the opportunity to see Sanctuary filming except once a year ago when they took their green screens outside to turn an office just behind their studio into an Indian Ocean airport.

“We’re honored to have been part of this incredible series. In addition to garnering unmatched devotion by fans worldwide, Sanctuary was a bona fide trailblazer, setting new standards with its highly innovative production techniques–including pioneering green screen and RED camera technology–and Emmy-nominated visual effects,” Syfy Original Content President Mark Stern said in a statement. “It’s been an amazing ride and we look forward to our next project with Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood and Damian Kindler.”

Maybe that’ll be Primeval: New World where Martin Wood is co-showrunner and Amanda Tapping is directing the current episode featuring a dinosaur chasing a jogger through the Olympic Village. Why not? Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Even in sci-fi.

UPDATED: Sanctuary won Leo Awards for best visual effects (Lee Wilson & Anthem), best production design (Bridget McGuire) and best costumes (Christina McQuarrie) on the first night. Its only Leo at the Gala was guest performance (Pascale Hutton) on the Exorcist-meets-Glee episode Fugue. Damian Kindler accepted for Hutton.

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