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Real Canadian places that resemble Star Wars planets

Canada has just as much geographic diversity as a galaxy far, far away

  • Published Dec 14, 2015
  • Updated Oct 27, 2022
  • 576 words
  • 3 minutes
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Star Wars may be set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but it turns out you don’t need to go far from home to experience something like the weird and wonderful landscapes featured in the films.

A search through our Photo Club database revealed that Canada has just as much geographic diversity as the fictional Star Wars universe.

As the world eagerly awaits the release of the latest movie in the franchise, The Force Awakens, here are six Canadian locations that bear an uncanny resemblance to planets featured in the original trilogies.

Hoth/Kitscoty, Alta.
Top: Han Solo perched atop his tauntaun on the ice planet Hoth, featured in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: A wintery day in Kitscoty, AB. (Photo: Frances Petersen/Can Geo Photo Club)
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The ice planet Hoth, featured in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, has practically entered the cultural lexicon as a synonym for winter in Canada. Over the past few winters, many places could easily have qualified for the title of “Canada’s Hoth,” but winter in the Prairies is a special kind of awful. The relentless winds carve the snow into mountainous drifts, and temperatures that routinely dip into the minus 40s will have you wanting to crawl inside a tauntaun – no matter how bad it smells.

Endor/Nanaimo, B.C.
Top: Princess Leia confronts a stormtrooper in the towering forests of Endor in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: Ferns, moss and fallen logs decorate the forest floor in the temperate rainforest of Vancouver Island. (Photo: Michael Ashe/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Temperate rainforest is one of the rarest ecosystems on Earth, so it’s easy to feel transported to another world when visiting coastal British Columbia. Scenes from the forest moon of Endor in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi were actually filmed in California’s majestic redwood forest, but looking at this photo from Nanaimo’s Colliery Dam Park, one almost expects an Ewok to pop out from behind a fallen log.

Top: The Galactic City on the planet Coruscant as seen in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: Looking west at the City of Toronto at sunset. (Photo: Ben Quinn/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Coruscant, the seat of political power in the Star Wars universe and the homeworld of the human species, is known for its urban sprawl, which covers the entire surface of the planet. While not quite that bad, the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area stretches east to west for approximately 125 kilometres along the northern shore of Lake Ontario in an interconnected chain of cities and suburbs. The next time you fly into Pearson Airport, imagine your plane is just one of the thousands of airspeeders traversing Coruscant’s busy skylanes.

Dagobah/Port Moody, B.C.
Top: Jedi Master Yoda counsels his young padawan Luke Skywalker in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: Hiking the Diez Vistas trail around Buntzen Lake in Port Moody, B.C. (Photo: Michael Weber/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Little is known about the marshy, forested world of Dagobah, except that it is one of the purest places in the galaxy, strong in the Force. It is for this reason that the Jedi Master Yoda chooses Dagobah to serve out his exile following the destruction of the Jedi Order. The coastal forests of British Columbia project the same mystique, which is likely why each year they attract thousands of visitors seeking the restorative tranquility of nature.

Tatooine/Drumheller, Alta.
Top: Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO and R2D2 gaze out over Tatooine's Sluuce Canyon in Episode IV: A New Hope. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: The badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park in Drumheller, Alta. (Photo: Tyson Fenech/Can Geo Photo Club)
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Rich in dinosaur bones, fossils and unique geographical features, the Alberta badlands are a fascinating vestige of prehistoric times. While you won’t encounter any Jawas, Tusken Raiders or moisture farms in and around Drumheller, venture off the beaten path and you will find shallow caves, coulees and hoodoos galore. The teeny-tiny ghost town of Wayne also has a fine cantina.

Naboo/Okanagan Valley, B.C.
Top: Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala share a romantic moment in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. (Photo: Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.) Bottom: Vaseux Lake in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley. (Photo: Dee Newman/Can Geo Photo Club)
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The scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in which the future Darth Vader steals a kiss from Padme Amidala was famously filmed at Villa del Balbianello on Italy’s Lake Como, which has since become a popular destination for fans of the movies. If Italy is out of your budget, though, B.C.’s Okanagan Valley offers many picturesque views of lakes surrounded by vibrant hills. Actually, that describes almost all of Canada!


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