Pickering is in the 'Zone' !

Pickering  has missed working with our film industry partners during this Covid-19 crisis.  But we've taken this time to ensure we're ready to handle all permitting processes electronically. 

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.  Issued June 25th, 2020, this guideline is a one stop shop for keeping your industry and all who work with you, safe and healthy as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. More resources are available from our local health authority, the Durham Region Health Department.

Just thirty minutes from the heart of Toronto, Pickering is in the 'Zone' and we love to host the film industry ! The first municipality east of Toronto, we offer access to both Hwy. 401, and Hwy. 407 ETR, and 30-minute access to 4 different airports - Pearson, Billy Bishop, Buttonville and Oshawa.

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

Submit the completed Film Location Permit Form that will automatically be sent to our Film Liaison Office by email.

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

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 licensed Drone operator, who abides by the terms of that Federally regulated licence.  We do request however, that your production provide a copy of the drone operator's certification, for our records.

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 who will determine if the activity requires a Fire Services permit and attendance on site 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.)

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 generally be 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, secure 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
  • 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 conservation authority

Filming fees start at:

$90 per hour +HST for set/strike

$200 per hour +HST for 14 hours of active filming

$275 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 deemed 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...

"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 on 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 between you and a film company are private 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 apply for 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 Location Office directly, for advice on best practices when engaging the film industry. filming@pickering.ca, or 417.277.8336.