The Deadmonton Dirtbag has revealed that Edmonton Tourism tried to cover up a botched vacation incentive and replace it with a much more morbid initiative.

Leaked emails obtained by the ‘Bag indicate that the tourism arm of the city tried to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the Trevor Anderson 2010 movie short The High Level Bridge,  that screened at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals and scored honourable mention at the American Film Institute Awards.

That is, until tourism staff actually watched the five-minute film.

Emails between staff indicated dismay and shock over a plan that quickly went south.

“I don’t know if publicizing this film is appropriate to draw tourists, even though the bridge has decades of heritage behind it,” indicated one tersely-worded email.

“Even though we think the High Level Bridge is an architectural wonder, I doubt that one of its opening lines, ‘It’s where people live in Edmonton go when we’re finally ready to kill ourselves’ is going to pack people by the planeload.”

Subsequent emails revealed a backup contingency was quickly cobbled together called Project Lemming, designed to attract suicide-prone people across the continent to take advantage of the bridge as a final destination.

“If we can draw that depressed demographic here, we can put together a package designed to spend their life savings in town before they hit the bridge,” said one email in support of Project Lemming. “I mean, they can’t take it with them, so they might as well blow it all here!”

“Finally, something that reflects the true spirit of Deadmonton!” enthused another email.

Confidential emails from upper management, however, killed the plan.