Pickering is in the 'Zone' and Open for Business !

The first municipality east of Toronto, Pickering is in the 'Zone' and we love to host the film industry!

IN THE NEWS! Pickering now home to the largest film/television backlot in Canada.

Pickering is now home to the largest film/television backlot in Canada.  Our 90 acre lot in central Pickering currently houses the set of a major streaming series, replicating small town 'anywhere' in North America.

Looking ahead, a lease agreement has been struck between the City and William F. White to take over operation of the backlot in the fall of 2021.  As Canada's largest provider of film/television equipment, Pickering is excited to add this backlot to William F. White's extensive portfolio of production services.  We look forward to working with them to deepen the strength of our local and regional film industry, providing local jobs and strengthening the success of the Ontario film industry.

DRIFF news: Durham Region International Film Festival 2021

Check out the line-up for this year's DRIFF Drive-In Screening series.  This year's theme is 'Shifting the Narrative'.

Film Office Services

We aim to make your experience as seamless as possible through a number of services including:

  • one stop permitting approvals coordinated for you across all City Departments
  • fully online, electronic permit processing and fee payments
  • location scouting assistance
  • information about neighbourhoods, organizations, and properties
  • resource for local municipal/regional governments and agency contacts
  • liaising with our residents on filming activity

Film Location Permit Process and Fees

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the City of Pickering continues to embrace the filming industry.  All permit processes can be handled electronically, from online application to final payment.

Before you apply for a Film Location Permit, please review the guidelines issued by the Section 21 Film & Television Health and Safety Advisory Committee of the Ontario Ministry of Labour and Skills Development.   More resources are available from our local health authority, the Durham Region Health Department.

Submit the completed Film Location Permit Form that will automatically be sent to our Film Liaison Office by email.  In light of current COVID-19 health & safety restrictions, we'd like a minimum of 1 week to review your proposal, so we can keep our residents and businesses well informed.

The Film Location Permit fee for City of Pickering road occupancy is a flat rate of $250 plus HST ($282.50). This fee can cover multiple locations over multiple days, provided the occupancy relates to a single film activity occurring over consecutive days.

All film productions must provide the City with a Certificate of Insurance, naming the City as an added insured to the production insurance policy, providing a minimum coverage of $5 million general commercial liability and $2 million each for owned and/or non-owned vehicles. The City should be named as:  City of Pickering, One The Esplanade, Pickering, On L1V 6K7.

If your plan includes use of a City owned facility or public park, we'll connect you to the right staff for issuance of a Facility Rental Agreement or Park Rental Permit.

Questions or concerns about your Film Location Permit? Contact our Film Liaison Office directly at 905.420.4617.  We're here to help.

Drones

The City of Pickering does not regulate the use of drones for commercial filming.  We require that use of drones is conducted by a commercially licensed Drone operator, who abides by the terms of that Federally regulated licence.  We require a copy of the drone operator's certification is filed with the Film Office prior to us issuing a Film Location Permit.

SPFX

Use of SPFX that are fire or incendiary-based must be reviewed by the City of Pickering, Fire Prevention Office.  The Film Liaison Office will connect you directly to our Fire Services staff to determine if the activity requires a separate Fire Permit or on site attendance by our Pickering Fire Service team. In many cases, certified SPFX personnel contracted by the film production company can be used. (Note: if City of Pickering Fire personnel are required, but not available, no other private fire service or personnel will be allowed as a substitute.)

The use of chemical based SPFX products must be reviewed by our Engineering Department prior to issuance of a Film Location Permit, to ensure they are safe for our residents, and the environment.

Non-incendiary SPFX such as gunfire no longer requires on-site attendance by Durham Region Police Services tactical teams. However, details of the SPFX explosives or gunfire must be reported to the City of Pickering Film Liaison Office as well as the Durham Region Police services, prior to issuance of the City's Film Location Permit and commencement of filming.

Locations

Filming in the hamlet of Whitevale Pickering offers an eclectic mix of locations, including open, rural countryside with rolling farmlands, country side roads, and miles of pristine hiking trails. If you're looking for a faster pace, take a look at our emerging, City Centre. Need something more breezy? Pickering's Nautical Village features an intimate waterfront community on the shores of Frenchman's Bay and Lake Ontario.

Heritage spirit abounds in Pickering. Home of the largest living history museum in Durham Region, the buildings and streetscapes of our Pickering Museum Village will transport you back to the 19th century. And don't forget to take a look at our heritage protected hamlets.

Pickering Museum Village
Pickering Museum Village, 2365 Concession Road 6, Hamlet of Greenwood

Map & Description of Village Buildings

Nestled on the banks of Duffins Creek in the quaint hamlet of Greenwood, Pickering Museum Village provides a private, distinct setting. Whether it's heritage accuracy, a timeless 'backwoods' environment, or a quaint village setting, Pickering Museum Village can provide it.

Site features include:

  • over 10 acres of pristine natural settings including a meadow and bridged stream, woods and pathways
  • 19th century village including artefact buildings like a blacksmith's shop, log barn and house, a standard board barn, log school house, 2 storey temperance hotel, chapel, 2 storey board & batten home, 2 storey farm house, Odd Fellows community hall, various accessory buildings like drive sheds and a small farm abbatoire
  • Redman House building with heritage exterior and retrofitted interior for use as greenroom, costuming or craft services, with a health approved kitchen, washrooms and shower, heat and air conditioning
  • Parking is accommodated on site or on abutting municipal roads.
  • Power is available but use of genies is preferred; extra fees associated with use of onsite power or water
  • Artefact buildings can be transformed with exterior facades, or interior set dressings. Production to provide onsite storage & security
  • Exterior site features include white picket fences, period gardens, dusty street corners, wild orchards and apple trees, broad verandas, rustic porches, lush green countryside dotted with wildflowers, wooded pathways and charming meadow with creek
  • modification of ground services is permitted provided protection and/or restoration of the natural environment is ensured
  • use of Duffins Creek coordinated by staff with the local conservation authority

Filming fees start at:

$92.75 per hour +HST for set/strike

$206 per hour +HST for 14 hours of active filming

$283.25 per hour +HST for active filming after 14 hours

Fees include an on-site museum staff person to ensure your experience runs smoothly. Extra staff necessary to manage the site will be invoiced at $40 per hour per staff member.

Hamlets

Pickering is dotted with vintage hamlets, still 'in the Zone' and just minutes from urban settings and transportation networks. Surrounded by natural beauty, we've retained all the charm and character of our small towns, while making huge strides in maturing as a city.

The Hamlet of Whitevale has been maintained and enhanced since its settlement in the early 1800's. Located along the banks of Duffin's Creek along Concession Road 5, Whitevale has protected much of the original Victorian influenced architecture. Filming activities in the Hamlet of Whitevale are overseen by the City of Pickering as well as the Whitevale & District Residents' Association.  Consult the guidelines below for further information.

Read the Whitevale Filming Guidelines

 Nautical Village & Frenchman's Bay
The busy city pace slows down as you enter our beautiful Nautical Village. A perfect pathway dotted with shops and cafes that seamlessly merge with Lake Ontario. Here, you'll also find the sparkling waters of Frenchman's Bay, the largest natural bay on Lake Ontario. Sailboats docked next to bayside restaurants provide a perfect nautical backdrop.

 

Testimonials - Don't take our word for it...

"I cannot say enough about the high level of professionalism we experienced with the City of Pickering on Season One of “Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol”. During a typical short and intense prep, the Pickering Film Office took on our late-night request and made a full road closure a reality within mere hours. The show runners and director were incredibly pleased. A cut above the rest. I am overjoyed and blown away by what Pickering has to offer visually and what they can make happen. A real blast from the past for me. Many Kudos!!!

- Martin Dzatko, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol - Peacock Network (2021)

 

"No matter the size or scope of the production, The City of Pickering is the right place for your shoot. Their film office is among the most astute and professional, always willing to troubleshoot with shows to help them create their vision, while keeping the City happy to have us return for another project.

Spencer Malin, Assistant Location Manager, Precious Productions Inc.(2021)

 

"As the director and co-producer of ''Claire de Lune'', bilingual short-film (2020), I really enjoyed filming in Pickering, Ontario. The Waterfront offers lots of amazing sites. Pickering has a lot to offer, from natural to more urban sites. 

My co-producer, Antoine Tapin, found it really easy and pleasant to communicate with the City's Film Office to get our permit. We got it really quickly and all paper work was dealt with efficiently and quickly.

Thank you, Pickering team!

I hope to shoot another film in the near future in your fast growing city.

- Valérie Lecomte, Director and Feature Performer, 'Claire de Lune'

 

"The City of Pickering offers a ton of amazing locations. The City staff are extremely helpful throughout every step of the production process."

- Andrew VanEek, Assistant Location Manager, "Mercury"

 

"When scouting for film or TV in the GTA, one always has to consider the 'zone'. Pickering offers country looks, farms and farmland, quaint village looks, suburban and upscale homes and a spectacular waterfront. Finding all this in one area keeps us on budget and the City's efficient permit process keeps us on time. Pickering is always one of the first places I look when I need a diverse cross-section of looks. "
- Ingrid Fielden, Location Scout/ Manager, "Spy Films"

 

"I have been privileged to live in a wonderful Pickering century farm house for the past 42 years, during which, my family and I have hosted many film shoots. It has been a great experience on many levels.

Firstly to bring awareness to a genre in Canadian history such as my house represents is an honour. This home is built with olden day care. It is solid and stately and has a barn that ignites the imagination. Helping foster the imagination of the viewing audiences is wonderful feeling.

We live in such a beautiful area, rich with wildflowers, growing crops and wildlife. To share this beauty is a great bonus of hosting the creative talents of film crew.

Almost every crew that has been here has left something to enrich this place...a new screen door, a great paint job, a back porch that they needed for a shot, a film platform in the barn that we use for other gatherings, etc. The film industry appreciates the hospitality of the hosting family and is always so careful at restoring the location in a meticulous manner.

I would highly recommend that we do everything we can to encourage the film industry to our area. The revenue to the area is always appreciated and people love to be a part of the excitement generated by the creative talent involved."
- Janet Robertson, Pickering resident

How to List your private property for use by Film Productions

Film productions looking for new locations often search the inventory of film sites hosted by Ontario Creates. This is the official office established by the Province of Ontario, to support all aspects of the film industry across Ontario.

If you would like to offer/rent your property to the film industry, consider registering your property with the Ontario Film Commission, Ontario Locations Library. This online portal features over 400,000 digital images of locations, used by film and TV producers to scout potential filming sites for upcoming productions in Ontario.

It is important to note, that any arrangements made for use of your private property, are between you and a film company.  The City of Pickering has no jurisdiction or involvement in setting the terms of rental of private property. The City's role in issuing approvals to the Film Industry only applies to the use of City owned property or roads.  Residents must still comply with all Municipal By-laws while providing use of their property to a film company. Therefore, if a film company is using your property, but parking their equipment or vehicles on a public municipal road, the production must still apply for a Film Location Permit for occupancy of that road.

Regardless, please don't hesitate to contact our Film Office directly, for advice on best practices when engaging the film industry filming@pickering.ca, or 905.420.4617.