Location Spotlight: Wellington West

Did you know that Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood has a long and fascinating film history? Long before the Huffington Post named it one of Canada’s “coolest communities,” Hintonburg was home to one of the first motion picture screenings in the country. In 1896 in what was then known as West End Park, local businessmen Andrew and George Holland showed The Kiss, the first film in Canada that was projected commercially using Thomas Edison’s Vitascope. The film, lasting a whopping 18 seconds, was also the first film to feature a kiss – quite scandalous for the Victorian Era!

Hintonburg’s early reputation as an entertainment district continued. In 1939, Frank “Budge” Crawley and his wife Judith co-founded the Academy award-winning production company Crawley Films, creating a studio on Fairmount Avenue and producing hundreds of films over the next 40 years. Today, the neighbourhood still exudes a creative energy and a strong entrepreneurial spirit as the headquarters for some of Ottawa’s leading marketing and digital media agencies. It has also become one of Ottawa’s most unique filming locations.

Head a little west of Ottawa’s downtown core and you will find yourself in the charming and increasingly popular neighbourhood of Wellington West, home of Hintonburg and Wellington Village. Nestled between the O-Train Trillium Line to the east and Island Park Drive to the west, Wellington Street West and its surrounding residential streets offer unique filming locations that can suit a variety of needs. Whether your next project calls for a quaint cafe or boutique, an award-winning restaurant, a theatre, park or market, an historic house or an art gallery – Wellington West has it all.

Once known as Richmond Road, Wellington Street was created in 1818 but did not see the construction of many new buildings until the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of the buildings that were built between the 19th century and the post Second World War era still exist today, and with the addition of newer buildings, the area became known for its rich and diverse character.

On Wellington’s main street you will find an almost continuous array of storefront buildings, housing anything from boutiques and cafes to restaurants and art studios – all reminiscent of a small town (friendly faces included). The street has quickly become a favourite shooting location and the small- and medium-sized businesses that line it are keen to welcome more film shoots. Wide, neighbouring streets provide ample space to park your tech trucks and basecamp while spacious sidewalks on the main street mean your crew, cast and equipment can remain safely off the road as you shoot.

Watch any movie or TV show and you’ll almost always see at least one house onscreen. Private residences are one of the most often used filming locations, and in Hintonburg and Wellington Village, the options are plentiful. Houses, ranging from modern to old and small to large, help provide the inner-city feel many productions look for. If you’re a local homeowner with a house that should be in the movies or on TV, consider listing it as a filming location on the OMDC’s digital library.

The surrounding residential streets, with their tight urban lots, small setbacks and mix of housing types at the east end and larger, more gracious houses moving west create vital, richly textured, inner-city neighbourhoods.
– Wellington West Business Improvement Area (WWBIA), home to Hintonburg and Wellington Village

Will Wellington West star in your next project? Check out the BIA’s website for more information about the many businesses in the area and contact us to see how we can help with your next shoot. Our office coordinates all filming on public property in Ottawa, cutting through the red tape so filmmakers get the shots they need, when they need them.