While travel is finally starting to resume worldwide, trips to Canada continue to be postponed with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair recently announcing that all borders will remain closed until the country attains a 75% vaccination rate. In the meantime, those missing the Great White North can embark upon a bit of armchair tourism by catching up on the many current shows shot there including “Home Before Dark,” “Firefly Lane,” and “Upload.” The latter, an Amazon Studios original created by Greg Daniels, the mastermind behind “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” takes place in 2033, a technologically advanced period in which an individual facing the end of life can choose to upload their consciousness to a virtual world rather than die traditionally. Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell), a hip and somewhat self-absorbed computer programmer who falls victim to a self-driving car accident at the tender age of 27, opts for the former by signing up to spend eternity at Lakeview, an idyllic virtual world at the top tier of the digital afterlife game – because even in the great beyond, money talks.
Part sci-fi mystery, part comedy, part drama, part harsh look at class divide, “Upload” has been well-received by audiences and critics alike. With charming performances, humorous storylines and plenty of heart, the series’ appeal is not surprising. And Nathan’s cybernated heaven isn’t too bad to look at, either! As customer service representative/virtual angel Nora Antony (Andy Allo) tells him shortly after his upload is complete, Lakeview is ”the only digital afterlife environment modeled on the grand Victorian hotels of the United States and Canada.”
Production designer Rachel O’Toole was tasked with creating the bucolic afterworld, stitching together several different far-flung locales to form the fictional oasis. The Mohonk Mountain House hotel, located at 1000 Mountain Rest Rd. in New York’s Hudson Valley, was pegged for all of Lakeview’s establishing shots. Interior resort scenes for the series’ pilot were shot a good 2,800 miles away at Pasadena’s famed Castle Green Hotel & Apartments. Following the filming of that episode, the production moved to Vancouver, where sets modeled after the Castle Green interiors were constructed on a soundstage. And most outdoor scenes involving Lakeview’s pristine grounds were lensed at the Cecil Green Park House, a historic mansion situated on the western edge of the University of British Columbia campus.