Pickering is in the 'Zone' 

The first municipality east of Toronto, and home to Canada’s largest backlot, Pickering is in the Zone and we love to host the film industry!

We know it's good business to work with the film industry.  Check out these testimonials from Ontario businesses.

Registration is now open for our latest event:   'Your Business. Their Next Film.' 

Filming in Ontario is a multi-billion dollar industry using a wide range of services. Find out how to do business with the unique and lucrative world of television and filming. Meet industry experts who are bringing film projects to our community and need to buy services and supplies.  Join us at the Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex at 1857 Valley Farm Road, Pickering, on Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 2-5 pm.  Free admission and onsite parking, local transit to the door, or walk the few blocks from the Pickering GO Station.

Light refreshments will be served.   Register now to save your seat!

Pickering 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 Processes and Fees (new fees for 2023)

All permits are processed electronically, from online application to final payment.

APPLY:

Submit the completed Film Location Permit Form that is automatically filed with our Film Liaison Office by email.  Timing to issue a permit is on a case by case basis, however, we are generally able to issue a permit within 3-5 business days.  Contact our office directly if you are looking for an expedited review.

NOTICE: New permit fees as of February 1, 2023.

  1. Increase to our standard permit fee for road occupancy without closure or lane restriction:  now $350 +HST 
  2. New rate for permits requesting a temporary road closure or lane restriction: $500 +HST (this fee is a stand alone for these conditions and includes your road occupancy and closure - it's one fee or the other, not both).

Either fee can cover multiple locations over multiple days, provided the occupancies relate to a single film activity occurring over consecutive days.

INSURANCE:

All film productions must provide the City with a Certificate of Insurance, naming the City as an added insured to the production's insurance policy. Minimum required coverage is $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.

CITY PARKS AND FACILITIES:

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 or email us filming@pickering.ca .  We're here to help.

Locations

 

William F. White Backlot -  Pickering now home to the largest film/television backlot in Canada.

Nestled in the midst of a film friendly, rural community, this 90 acre backlot is in the Zone. This unique and extremely versatile space offers innumerable options to go from a rustic small town, to modern New York City streets. The backlot features a 23 acre, 'small town anywhere', with facade streetscapes, a town square, and a variety of interior sets, all adaptable to meet your design needs. Beyond the 'town' are stretches of secluded field and forest for exterior rural shots. 

William F. White is the exclusive operator of the backlot. For information on getting a tour of the backlot or renting backlot space, contact John McCaughey at jmccaughey@whites.com or call John at T: 416.239.5050 M: 416.305.9050. Check out William F. White for more information and site images.

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 growth of Ontario's film industry.

TriBro Sandy Beach Studios - 915 Sandy Beach Road

TriBro Studios recently opened Sandy Beach Studios. This studio is within union Zone 1 and is a 40-minute drive from downtown Toronto and 35 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The facility is 180,000 sf with 22 ft ceiling heights and has ample parking for crew and trailers. Studio features include:

  • 150,000 sf stage area
  • mill shop
  • 30,000 sf production offices and ancillary space
  • 3 stages @ 18,000 sf each
  • 4000 amp service,

For a tour or to book your production, contact: Mel Loiselle (she/her) Studio Accounts Manager, 416.885.8234, mel@tribrostudios.com

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.Filming in the hamlet of Whitevale

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 currently start at the following rates.  A 2% increase can be expected for 2023.

$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.  Our Film Office can connect you with the Association to discuss your proposed plans for filming in the Hamlet of Whitevale.

 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.

 

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.  A copy of the drone operator's certification must be filed with the Film Office prior to us issuing a Film Location Permit.

SPFX - use of incendiary effects and chemicals

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 circulate your application 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 most 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. A minimum of 10 days is required for the City to review the MSDS sheets on chemical based, sprayed snow materials.

Non-incendiary SPFX such as mock 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 Dispatch office, prior to issuance of the City's Film Location Permit and commencement of filming.

What's new at DRIFF?  (Durham Region International Film Festival)

DRIFF in a Jiff returns in February 2023

We're already looking forward to the first DRIFF in a Jiff of 2023! Catch two great short films for free, screening in The Lookout at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. Join us in February (details to come in the new year) for screenings of 'The Test' and 'On the Fence.' Click here as the date gets closer for all the details.

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, "American Gods"

"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, Robertson Farm & Pickering resident

Listing 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 Film Commission 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 the production 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.

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.