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As the manager of a Toronto-based sex shop and former reviewer of adult websites, Alison Lee has seen her fair share of pornography.

But she remembers one video that she instantly knew had been filmed in her home province of British Columbia.

"I recognized the towering trees," she said. "There were no skyline shots or Expo building or anything, but I was like 'Oh, hey!' "

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Canadians have long got a kick out of recognizing their cities masquerading as New York, Chicago or London in Hollywood blockbusters.

But a new television channel recently approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is hoping there will be a similar interest in watching made-in-Canada pornography.

When it launches in 2009, Northern Peaks will be the country's first adult digital pay channel specializing in Canadian content, and that does not mean a lot of phallic references to the CN Tower or shots of people doing it in a canoe.

Instead, its proprietor is banking on a market for homegrown porn, an industry that - like the local food movement - suggests the freshest goods can be found in your own backyard.

"I think it's a regional thing where people like to watch something they know is produced locally," said Shaun Donnelly, the man behind Northern Peaks. "It's just the fantasy of knowing that's someone you could run into somewhere."

With his company Real Productions, Mr. Donnelly has long been pumping out adult fare in Canada. His first TV series, Make Me A Porn Star, was shot entirely in Western Canada, and Mr. Donnelly said casting calls produced a teacher, a religious couple, a rich divorcée, as well as lawyers and doctors willing to bare all.

He believes the appeal of Canadian pornography is due in large part to its amateur stars, people you are just as likely to spot at the local grocery store as in an XXX video.

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In Los Angeles, where most porn is produced, stars are often "the prettiest girl in Nebraska" who moved to California to break into the movies and fell on hard times, Mr. Donnelly said.

In Canada, however, porn is not a backup plan for most of his participants.

"When you're shooting in Regina and Winnipeg, nobody there has any illusions that they're going to be huge movie stars," he said. "They specifically want to do an adult movie."

Mr. Donnelly and his team travel across the country to film volunteers who contact them through the production company website. There is generally a three- to four-month period between initial contact and lights, camera, action. This helps weed out anyone looking for a quick paycheque, he said.

The eagerness of participants means that amateur porn starring first-time actors is his company's fastest-growing genre.

Several series he has produced, including First Time Couples and Real Canadian MILFs, are filmed entirely with participants who have never been in an adult video before. Another show, World's Horniest Home Videos: Canadian Edition, is culled from video sent in by couples eager for their exploits to be seen by the masses.

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The apparent appeal of amateur porn is visible in the United States as well.

An adult series called Homegrown Videos is one of the country's longest-running porn series, and culled entirely from footage submitted by couples who shot it themselves.

Finding Canadian stars has not been a problem for Mr. Donnelly, who said he has enough material to air 80 per cent Cancon.

But is there a nationalistic flavour to this adult fare?

Ms. Lee, who manages the Toronto sex shop Good for Her, says she's not sure that Canadian porn has a distinct aesthetic.

"I wish I could say, 'Oh yes, there is a Canadian aesthetic: You'll always see canoes and snowshoes,' " she said. "But really, it just tends to be lower-budget and amateur."

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Good for Her carries female-friendly pornography, most of it made by independent producers, and will occasionally point out to customers when a video has been made in Canada.

Ms. Lee said she hopes the new cable channel will help promote a Canadian idea of pornography, with ethnic and sexual diversity and a range of body types.

"I think it's an interesting opportunity to promote Canadian entertainment," she said. "This isn't stuff that's going to be shown on CBC."

Bren Ryder, creator of Good Dyke Porn, won a Golden Beaver Award for Canadian content at this year's Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto.

The Vancouver-based producer also believes there is a demand for homegrown porn.

"As Canadians we want to be able to not only see ourselves but support our country," she said. "I think there's a difference in what we produce, whether it's literature or pornography."

Ms. Ryder said her own work is influenced by the hyperrealism of Canadian directors like Atom Egoyan, and that she shoots in a documentary style, trying to "capture the essence of their sexuality and the intimacy that is occurring."

"Perhaps that's a Canadian aesthetic," she said.

She suspects that some people might be drawn to the new Canadian porn channel for the novelty, and said she is hoping to produce more explicitly Canadian content herself, as soon as she works out what that would mean.

"I have visions of ski cabins and things like that, because we try to get outside whenever we can," she said. "But unless there's a Vancouver aesthetic in people's interiors it will be hard for people to know where it's from. Maybe they'll be able to tell by the smallness of the apartments."

Naughty Cancon

Here are some programs that will be aired on Northern Peaks,

a Canadian adult-movie channel, according to its recently approved CRTC application.

Manny the Freak's

Freakin' First Timers

"Montreal director convinces some of La Belle Province's

tastiest girls to get freaky

with him."

First Time Series

"This pro-am series features

Canadian starlets making their adult-movie debuts. Volumes have been shot in just about

every major Canadian city."

Real Canadian MILFS

"Some of Canada's sexiest

thirtysomethings show off their skills in this series that proves Canada is cougar country."

World's Horniest Home

Videos: Canadian Edition "Ordinary women and couples

all over Canada submit their own XXX home movies for everyone to see."

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