North West River in Labrador, Newfoundland, boasts a 65 per cent aboriginal population and was established as a thriving fur trade centre for the North in 1743. It is the furthest point in Northeastern North America one can drive in an automobile. North West River exists within the sub-boreal forest at the end of Lake Melville and the end of the open road, route 500, and boasts a population of 553. CRB Rebuild and Recreation Ltd is a 100 per cent Labrador Inuit owned and operated family business in the small historic town of North West River.
This family owned business in this isolated community is also home to a tight-knit group of local “characters” — all the requirements for a new reality television show!
Within three weeks of posting a casting call on Facebook, reality show development producer Mike Armitage, from Toronto, Ontario, flew into that frozen landscape on the Labrador coast with a film crew.
From February to July 2017, a 10-member film crew from Proper Television worked with nine contracted employees (55 per cent are Labrador Inuit) of CRB Rebuild and Recreation Ltd. It was a challenge having 10 extra bodies inside a busy automotive garage, but they managed it. The cameras included members of the local community in all aspects of the production, which created much excitement for the entire isolated region.
They recorded two five-minute show trailers which they took and shopped around to North American broadcasters. Discovery Canada really loved the northern concept and purchased 12 half-hour episodes. Last Stop Garage stars a motley crew of mechanics who operate out of CRB Automotive. Using their sometimes questionable backwoods resourcefulness, the ingenious automotive hack specialists put their “mechanical magic” to work, fixing and building just about anything for anyone in their remote town.
The show was aired on Discovery Canada and Discovery Velocity in the States. Clips of behind the scenes takes and the episodes can be found on the usual platforms on the Internet.
The stories filmed included those about a Zamboni, community snowmobile trail groomer, fan boat, hovercraft, homemade barge, an old found logging skidder, snowmobiles, a Bombardier Bomby, Cessna aircraft and older automobiles, which were modified. Parts were sometimes a problem to find. For example, when we ruined the prop on the hovercraft, we had to wait six weeks for a new one from Alabama, in the U.S. Another challenge in the Labrador spring was trying to finish some of the shoots before the snow and ice melted. The magic of television helped to remedy those situations.
Members of the cast and CRB employees include Collin Baikie, Corey Webber, Stanley Oliver, Tyler Powell, Kyle Powell, Leander Baikie, Melinda Baikie, Ross Humby and Amy Parsons. None of us had ever expected to be a part of a television series, let alone be shown on television screens in multiple counties. These once in a life-time opportunities simply don’t happen to Labrador people! But the experience was an excellent one. The best part of non-scripted reality television is that no acting is required. Simply be yourself. And that’s what the employees of CRB did while showing how life is lived in the North!