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. Filming in Ontario is good business.  Check out this Film Ontario video to hear directly from Ontario businesses, including our very own Pickering Museum Village.

To discuss film opportunities in Pickering, contact Azeem Shah, Senior Advisor, Creative Industries and Tourism at ashah@pickering.ca or call 905.420.4660 ext. 1158.

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 Permits, Fees & Insurance

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.

Permit fees as of February 1, 2023:

  1. $350 +HST - Standard permit fee for road occupancy without temporary closure or lane restriction (but may include travelling shots, parking, performing or ITC, or
  2. $500 +HST - New for permits requesting a temporary road closure or lane restriction: (this fee is a stand alone for these conditions and includes your road occupancy and temporary closure.

Either fee can cover multiple locations over multiple days, provided the occupancies relate to a single filming event, 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.

Filming fees for use of the Pickering Museum Village site:

$95.00 per hour +HST for set/strike

$210.00 per hour +HST for 14 hours of active filming

$290.25 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.

City Parks and Municipal 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 - popular film locations and who has filmed here

 

Popular filming locations in 2022

Film productions are discovering the wide range of Pickering locations to fit their vision. Check out this map of production locations used in 2022.
Who's filming in Pickering?

Popular locations for Filming in Pickering:

 Over the years Pickering has been a community of choice for producers of films, commercials and TV series.  Why?

  • Pickering is included within the GTA – ACTRA Zone 1.  Going further north or east costs the production more money.
  • While we’re close to Toronto production studios and airports, etc., Pickering still has a myriad of rural/countryside roads where production companies can film travelling shots without causing much disturbance to the community, or to their tight production schedules.
  • We also have roads that we don’t mind closing for their exclusive use – these are becoming rarer, the closer you get to Toronto.
  • We have various heritage locations and structures, currently very popular in storylines. Again, they are close to Toronto without incurring the hassle or higher costs of shooting in Toronto.
  • Pickering Museum Village has been featured in many TV series, documentaries and films. Believe or not, X-Men took over the Bible Christian Chapel for a scene, painting symbols on the walls and then restoring it back to its original colour.  In fact, the museum has often been the recipient of a fresh coat of paint post film productions!  Of course, it’s heritage nature was the perfect back drop for series like Little Men, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne with an ‘E’.
  • The film industry loves dealing with Pickering staff because we are so friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable about our community!!

What’s been filmed here that you might recognize?

Over the last decade, an impressive list of feature films, TV series and TV commercials have filmed in Pickering, using a wide variety of urban and rural locations. 

A few TV ads since 2019 include:

Nissan, Crown Royal, Skittles, OLG, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Krusteaz, Bonterra, CIBC, Kia, ReMax, PNC Banking, NFL, Pepsi, McDonalds, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Hydra.

Feature films back in the included Little Men, X-Men, Road to Avonlea, Lars and The Real Girl and the Life & Times of Guy Terrifico.

More recently, we have become popular with many TV series including:

Hannibal – Dr. Lector’s house was shot at a farmhouse on Whitevale Road (now demolished for new residential development).

Flashpoint – often on our country side roads; one chase had them using the entrance at Gate 2 of the Pickering Museum Village to pull over and set up their GPS tracking system.

Reign – they set up a jousting tournament in Petticoat Creek Park

Suits - captured a scene at the former Paddock Gas Station on Highway #7 and filmed travelling shots down Brock Road, and along Kingston Road through our urban centre.

American Gods often used our countryside roads for travelling shots

Umbrella Academy – used rural roads for travelling shots and built a mid-century modern ranch style bungalow in a field off Concession Rd. 7 – which was ‘blown up’ at the end of the season. They also love our rural roads for remote scenes and travelling shots.

Anne with an ‘E’ – A popular farm house in north Pickering became the exterior of the Green Gables farm house.  They also use surrounding countryside for travelling shots (by horse), other series’ character homes an a small woodlot to construct Anne’s creative hideaway. The Avonlea school house façade was also built on this site.  One episode featured a town fair that was set up in the Petticoat Creek Conservation Park.

The Boys – filmed at a local gravel pit for several weeks

Tallboyz – filmed at the Pickering Museum Village in the fall of 2021.

Titans – used many countryside roads for travelling shots

Y The Last Man – closed down Finch Avenue for a truck roll over scene in front of a small retail plaza at Rosebank Road, and used other rural roads for travelling shots.

Coroner – Two Pickering farm sites were the feature locations for exterior shots of the main character’s home.

Jack Reacher – S1; built a full small town USA on lands leased from the City;  this site is now managed by William F. White under a 10 year lease and is confirmed as the Canada’s largest backlot set. Jack Reacher has returned for S2, using a variety of rural roads and continues to use the backlot under William F. White management.

Locke & Key –Two homes in the Hamlet of Greenwood have been featured locations over multiple seasons - they also love our rural roads.

The Way Home, is Pickering’s first Hallmark production, airing on Global TV.  Just launched on January 22nd 2023, The Way Home features Andie McDowell and was shot in north Pickering over 5 months in 2022 to shoot the first season.

Rookie Blue, Transporter, Marilyn, Factory Girls and West Wing also have shot scenes in Pickering.

…. And recently, but worth a standing ovation!:

Women Talking - Sarah Polley’s ‘Women Talking’, featuring Claire Foy of ‘The Crown’, filmed many scenes at a north Pickering farm during the summer and fall of 2021, with Sarah winning her first Oscar for Best Adapted Screen Play at the 95th Academy Awards.

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 for use of the Pickering Museum Village site:

$95.00 per hour +HST for set/strike

$210.00 per hour +HST for 14 hours of active filming

$290.25 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)

Film submissions are now open for the Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF)

DRIFF brings the film festival experience to diverse audiences in Durham Region and beyond; nurturing community connections, providing learning opportunities about filmmaking and promoting the development of local talent through a shared love of film.

It’s time to get your film ready for DRIFF and submit it through Film Freeway! The Early Bird deadline is April 3. Find submission rules and details at FilmFreeway.com.

Learn more about DRIFF and become a DRIFF insider to stay up-to-date on special offers, festival news and events

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

This February, Pickering hosted 'Your Business. Their next film.' an event to introduce our local supply chain to the world of filming.  It was a great success with over 250 registrants!  Here's what we heard from our business community:

"That was an EXCELLENT event.  We are a supplier currently to the film industry and my son is an IATSE member but I still learned things!! Wow, how great is that!", Doug Ruggles, President, Triden Distributors Limited, Pickering

"I am awestruck by all the work programs and depth of commitment in Pickering and Durham. I left the meeting with a great sense of pride to live here. I enjoyed listening to the array of stories and funny anecdotes from you and the panel guests.  You're doing such an amazing job !!! " Shirley Fournier, Pickering resident & background actor

Here's what our favourite Location Managers have to say about filming in Pickering:

"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.