Lights, Camera, Yarmouth: New HGTV Trading Up Series Debuts May 12


YARMOUTH, NS – The spotlight will turn to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia this week as a new series from HGTV Canada debuts May 12.

“Being the executive producer behind the show and being part of the making of the show, when I see the first episode…it’s surreal, more than anything,” says Yarmouth native Mandy Rennehan. “What makes me most excited and proud is watching the traders on the show.”

The series, titled Trading Up, was filmed in Yarmouth in 2021. It follows the renovation of three properties and also follows Rennehan as she mentors three apprentices in the trades – an industry, she says, that has seen a severe shortage of labor over the years. .

She hopes to see this change.

Rennehan has long been a champion of the crafts and hopes the show will reinvigorate the interest of those pursuing this important and much-needed line of work.

The added benefit is that she was able to do all of this while focusing her attention on her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

“For me, the Yarmouth part is the part that made me quite emotional,” she said. “I have always believed in Yarmouth’s ability to attract more people who want to own real estate and…I appreciate what it has to offer. So it was emotional for me, with a big smile on my face.

Mandy Rennehan, long-time trades champion, pictured with Denika Coakley, project manager for the Trading Up series and Julie Mood, project design and build manager. PHOTO COURTESY OF HGTV CANADA

Highlight the trades

Still, there were hurdles in filming the show, especially since it happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We already have a trade shortage in Nova Scotia. It was shot in the summer in a pandemic where everyone was booked. And on top of that you add a supply chain issue,” says Rennehan, highlighting some of the challenges.

Although Rennehan knows all the trades since she founded a long and very successful career in this industry, being part of a television series was new territory.

She says it was amazing to be part of and witness the great production team responsible for putting it all together, as well as being an interesting dynamic.

“There were days when it was 100% absolute chaos. One of the things people need to understand is that the difference between Trading Up and other shows is that we had a huge cast. because we were actually training apprentices while we were filming,” she says.

Be a mentor

Two of the apprentices – Dan Croft and Melissa Chenell – are from Nova Scotia. Croft is in Dartmouth but is moving to Mahone Bay. Chenell is originally from Sydney, Cape Breton. A third, Jaymin Luces-Mendes, is from Toronto.

At a young age, Luces-Mendes embraced a passion for building and design while participating in house flipping projects with her mother and grandmother and says that HGTV Trading Up experience has been invaluable.

“Being mentored by Mandy was great fun. She’s definitely a character – always energetic and easy going. She has her standards, but she has always made a lesson out of them, ”says Luces-Mendes.

“Mandy was able to show us what was wrong and how we could have done better or differently. It was a good experience overall and a lot of fun. I learned so much,” they add. “She obviously got to where she is because she knows so much. Being around someone like that, you learn so much and are constantly inspired to do your best.

Mandy Rennehan was thrilled to return to her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to film the HGTV series Trading Up, which will debut on television May 12.  Dan Croft and Melissa Chenell.  PHOTO COURTESY OF HGTV CANADA
Mandy Rennehan was thrilled to return to her hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to film the HGTV series Trading Up, which will debut on television May 12. Dan Croft and Melissa Chenell. PHOTO COURTESY OF HGTV CANADA

“We would have nothing without the trades”

Luces-Mendes also enjoyed the experience of filming in Yarmouth.

“I think it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m a water lover, I love being at the beach and you really can’t go more than 15 minutes to Nova without being at the beach. So I really loved it,” says Luces-Mendes. “Everyone is very friendly and it was actually a lot more diverse than I had anticipated, so it was a really pleasant surprise. And I love the East Coast vibe.

Luces-Mendes is delighted to see such a focus on the trades industry through this show, saying, “Literally, we wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for the trades. »

Another person who has had a career in the trades is Julie Mood of Yarmouth, who served as Design and Build Manager for Rennehan’s Trading Up team.

Mood runs his own interior design business in Yarmouth and has previously worked with Rennehan on other local projects.

“The whole experience was absolutely amazing – learning the ins and outs of everything was absolutely mind-blowing, to be honest,” she says of being part of the Trading Up series, and also getting to know the production side. , in addition to the renovation side, of the series.

“They made everything easy. If I had any questions, they would be there to tell me, “That’s how it’s going to work. Seeing the filming for TV, it was really great to get an in-depth look at that,” she says, though she still admits there were some stressful moments as well.

After all, there were deadlines to meet and there was a lot to do.

Julie Mood and Mandy Rennehan take a break from filming the Trading Up series which was filmed in Yarmouth in 2021 and will air on HGTV Canada from May 12.  PHOTO COURTESY HGTV CANADA
Julie Mood and Mandy Rennehan take a break from filming the Trading Up series which was filmed in Yarmouth in 2021 and will air on HGTV Canada from May 12. PHOTO COURTESY HGTV CANADA

Mood says she and Rennehan have always worked well together, including when it comes to bouncing ideas off of each other.

She recalls one night during production, the two waking up at 2 a.m. with the power flickering from a heavy downpour. With flashlights on their phones, they were choosing and deciding on tiles for one of the renovations, she laughs.

Mood fell into a career in the trades after making a live-edge table, complete with welded legs, for her brother as a wedding present. After posting a photo online, she received 15 orders the same day from other people.

“I was like, oh my God, is this something I can actually do?” she says. “I just moved on…I started realizing every day doing this that it was something I wanted to pursue.”

As for the show, not only was it exciting for her to film it in her hometown of Yarmouth, Mood says, but she’s excited for viewers to learn more about this part of Nova Scotia.

“We’re thriving and I think I think the producers and the director really captured Yarmouth’s heart when they were here,” she says.

Yarmouth Lighthouse at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth, NS  TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Yarmouth Lighthouse at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth, NS TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Promotion for Yarmouth

It’s also exciting for Neil MacKenzie.

MacKenzie is the executive director of the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association (YASTA) and says the show will be great promotion for the area.

“As a destination, we like to see productions in the region. We know the impact television and film productions can have, so it’s amazing to see Mandy and her team achieve this right here in Yarmouth and Acadian Shores,” he says. “We congratulate his team and everyone involved in the production. YASTA will continue to work with productions and scouts to try to foster relationships that will see more productions in the area.

A show and a book

Rennehan, meanwhile, has had another big moment in her life since filming Trading Up wrapped in Yarmouth last year. She recently launched her book “The Blue Collar CEO”, which describes what she calls her daring journey from rookie entrepreneur to multi-millionaire construction boss. She says she hears from people who want to buy the book for their daughters and granddaughters, as well as countless others.

“People from marginalized communities, people from LGBT communities, people from entrepreneurial communities, it’s amazing how much this book resonates with all walks of life. It gives people permission to find that damn lightning rod at the inside of them,” she says, noting that people often don’t give themselves enough credit for what they do or for what they have accomplished or what they could accomplish.

As for the Trading Up series, Rennehan hopes people will be as excited as she is.

“It was a new challenge for me. I really didn’t know what to expect until I got into it,” she says. “I want people to appreciate our town and bring more money into town, more tax base, more people who want to open amenities and put Yarmouth back on the map.”

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