Presumably, many Chemainiacs had a chance to view The Baker’s Son during the weekend and see the town in the spotlight.
It was broadcast on Saturday and Sunday on The W Network and will likely be in reruns several times during the summer for those who missed it. I caught the entire movie Saturday and then watched bits and pieces of it again Sunday.
Chemainus was definitely looking good in the Hallmark movie combined with Cowichan Bay, Brentwood Bay and even Oak Bay (all bays except Chemainus) to become the fictional town of Windward, Washington.
The Willow Street Cafe was home base for the Chemainus scenes in the film and that made things quite interesting for co-owner Don Goodman sitting and watching it from his home in the building.
“All in all, that was fun, very surreal,” he noted.
Goodman thought it was all rather cool, other than he prefers scones to the bread that was primarily being baked by lead actor Brant Daugherty as Matt.
It was interesting how the scenes were pieced together and, knowing the locations, how each town melded into the other. The outside of the Owl’s Nest Bistro was regularly seen throughout the movie, but when the doors opened the inside portion of the renamed Duval Boulangerie was actually the interior of True Grain Bread in Cowichan Bay.
The finale of the movie had a large group of actors marching along Willow Street, making a right turn onto Mill Street and suddenly they were at the government wharf in Cowichan Bay. All very seamless.
We’re obviously just lacking those waterfront locations in Chemainus to complete the look that was being sought for this movie. Perhaps we can move along that waterfront walkway development for purposes such as this to more fully promote the town.
The only disappointing part from a Chemainus perspective was the Pioneer Days scene. An elaborate set-up was made during filming of Willow Street with extensive decorations, props and costumes and very little of it was seen in the final product, other than a few minutes at the very end of the movie. Most of it must have hit the chopping block. That’s editing for you.
Cowichan Bay and Brentwood Bay were all filmed along the water and the ballet scenes were done at an estate home in Oak Bay, according to my good friend Mark Brandon, who portrayed news anchor Rick Rodgers covering the ballet company’s rehearsals leading up to an extensive tour.
“The surroundings were gorgeous,” conceded Brandon.
Despite being in the movie, he did not see its television debut.
“I rarely watch my own shows,” Brandon indicated. “I see things and want to kick myself! From time to time, I’ll get over it and download a copy of something.”
He looked every bit like an authentic news anchor, playing alongside real CHEK TV news reporter Tess Van Straaten.
As for the movie itself, the plot had to be considered a bit of a stretch with Matt only being able to bake quality bread when he’s in love. After being left heartbroken when visiting ballet dance Nicole (Maude Green), his love interest, leaves town, Matt’s bread literally falls apart and ruins the tourist trade coming to the town because of the quality bread that was previously produced.
But all’s well that ends well when Matt finally falls for his longtime best friend Annie (Eloise Mumford) after they have a big fight and realize they were meant for each other all along.
Haig Sutherland is great as the town of Windward’s nervous Mayor Walter Rasmussen, trying to keep the tourist trade on track.
There were a couple of subtle humourous twists in the movie.
While watching the ballet performance of Nicole, Doron Bell as Tim slowly nods off into his wife’s arms. How many males have done that at a ballet?
And when the town learns about Matt’s catastrophic baking following Nicole’s departure from town, Eric Keenleyside as Ernie proclaims, “that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
It is crazy, but then the townsfolk start making a sequence of introductions of their various “cousins”, hoping Matt will fall in love with one of them and revive the town’s fortunes with a return to his baking prowess. It doesn’t happen, but creates some comic relief until Annie and Matt meet their match in each other.
There’s sure to be some diehard Hallmark fans who will want to visit the town of Windward after this movie. So when they search on Google, they’ll find Chemainus among the locations and the tourist trade should realize some benefit – just like in the movie. We just need someone to set the pace in the breadmaking.
(Don Bodger is the editor of the Chemainus Valley Courier)