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Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site

Backgrounder - Operation Unplugged

Operation UnpluggedParks Canada has partnered with GlassBOX Television, HLP+Partners, and Via Rail Canada to produce Operation Unplugged, a six-episode documentary-adventure TV series and interactive website that follows a group of young Canadians who give up their technology and experience incredible adventures in Canada’s national parks and national historic sites. The series will air on the Travel+Escape channel starting February 21, 2012.

Operation Unplugged takes eight of the most self-proclaimed technology obsessed/dependent Canadians and unplugs them from their network, stripping them of their devices. Then, they embark on an adventure of personal journey through Canada’s breathtaking national parks and national historic sites. The host, guide and motivator, Alan Bishop, along with Parks Canada employees, leads the cast through our great Canadian landscape where they compete in “missions” involving real-time decisions in situations that they could have never have imagined themselves in.

Each participant will be forced to abandon their technical devices at the start of the series and learn how to live, interact and communicate in keeping with how it was done historically when the first national park was established more than 125 years ago – in person. Their “chat room” will be face-to-face at a campsite, their “tweets” will be recorded by hand in a personal journal, their ability to hide their emotions will be removed and they will confront each other and the camera with true feelings. Each episode will be shot on location in spectacular Parks Canada locations from coast-to-coast across Canada. The winner will win a trip for two to Nahanni National Park Reserve and attend an international conference.

The cast’s missions reflect Parks Canada experiences offered at various sites across Canada including Kejimkujik National Park and National historic Site, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site; Saguenay-St-Lawrence Marine Park; Bruce Peninsula National Park; Fathom Five National Marine Park; Riding Mountain National Park; Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site; Jasper National Park; Fort Langley National Historic Site; and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

The cast for Operation Unplugged was selected by HLP+Partners following a Canada-wide search for eight techno-dependant youth (aged 18+).  Applicants were asked to fill in a questionnaire and submit a short video.


The bilingual website, a natural extension to the groundbreaking series, features in-depth background on the show including host Alan Bishop and all eight cast members as well as many points of engagement. Users can sign up, login and then participate in weekly quizzes and video missions – all allowing the user to earn points, badges and win multiple prizes in the process. A grand prize including a $1,000 in gear from Atmosphere, $3,000 in travel credits from Via Rail and a Parks Canada Discovery Pass will be awarded following the conclusion of the final video mission to be posted during the Season Finale of Operation Unplugged. 

Operation Unplugged is part of Parks Canada’s centennial celebrations and builds on Parks Canada’s very successful youth initiative, Canada’s Greatest Summer Job. 

 The cast members include: DANIEL PALUZZI, age 21, from Woodbridge, ON; CATHERINE 'CAT' LeBEL, age 26, from Montreal, QC; KAMMER KINNARATH, age 27, from Winnipeg, MB, CHRIS MEIKLE, age 42, from Ottawa, ON; JILLIAN STOREY, age 20, from Creighton, SK; VANESSA PAMPALON, age 21, from Montreal, QC; SCOTT SIMONS, age 19, from Pickering, ON; and ALANA OBEY, age 30, from Vancouver, BC.

Broadcast Dates:

  • Episode 1 PREMIERE - Tuesday, February 21 – 9pm ET/PT (Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Nova Scotia);
  • Episode 2 - Tuesday, February 28 – 9pm ET/PT (Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Quebec);
  • Episode 3 - Tuesday, March 6 – 9pm ET/PT (Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario); 
  • Episode 4 - Tuesday, March 13 – 9pm ET/PT(Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site, Saskatchewan and Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba) - be sure to check out our Motherwell Homestead Missions;
  • Episode 5 - Tuesday, March 20 – 9pm ET/PT (Jasper National Park, Alberta);
  • Episode 6 SEASON FINALE - Tuesday, March 27 – 9pm ET/PT (Fort Langley National Historic Site and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia).