Film in Ottawa

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Looking to film in Ottawa? You’ve come to the right place.

As a G7 capital, there are several jurisdictions in Ottawa with an interest in the film and television industries, and obtaining the proper permissions to film can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. The Ottawa Film Office helps location managers, producers, and filmmakers navigate the permitting process by providing necessary information and contact details, all in one place.

Applicants must apply directly to the governing body overseeing the public land they wish to film on; in Ottawa, this will likely be the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, or the Committee on the Use of Parliament Hill. The Ottawa Film Office does not receive or process filming permit applications.

Who to contact

Filming on public property in Ottawa typically falls in one of the three categories below. Contact us if you aren’t sure about your filming location’s jurisdiction or who to contact – we’ll point you in the right direction.

City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa’s Event Central department receives and processes all filming and film-related parking requests on its lands; this includes most streets and sidewalks, municipal parks, City Hall, arenas, and community and recreation centres. You will also need to submit a filming application to the City of Ottawa if you’re filming in view of the public on private or public land and will be using replica weapons, emergency vehicles or uniforms. A minimum notice of five business days is required for most requests, although more complex requests, such as road closures and those needing paid duty officers, will take longer.

Visit the City of Ottawa’s website for more information or to submit your application. We strongly recommend that all filmmakers also read the City’s new Film By-Law and 2020 Filming Guidelines before submitting a filming permit application.

National Capital Commission

Requests to film on land owned or managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC) must be directed to its client services centre by phone at (613) 239-5000 or by email at [email protected] Timelines will vary depending on the complexity and scope of the request, and the desired location. Commonly requested NCC locations include the Rideau Canal pathways (and most pathways in the National Capital Region), Major’s Hill Park, Confederation Park, and the courtyards in the ByWard Market.

Parliament Hill

Requests to film on Parliament Hill must be sent to the Committee on the Use of Parliament Hill at least 10 business days in advance. While filming for commercial purposes is permitted, please note commercial advertising is not. Review the General Rules to make sure you understand what you can and can’t do on the Hill.

Visit the Parliament of Canada’s website for further information on how to apply.

Other

It’s possible your filming activity falls outside these three jurisdictions, for example, if you’re filming at the following locations:

  • Rideau Canal locks
  • Ottawa River
  • Rideau River
  • Highways and other provincial roads

In these cases and others, the Ottawa Film Office will direct you to the appropriate provincial or federal body responsible for the property. Just let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll be happy to assist.

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