Location Spotlight in association withThe Immortal Awards

Location Spotlight: The Climate and Culture of Canada

Production Company
Toronto, Canada
Sequoia Content takes us through the dos and don'ts of the region and the best hidden gems you need to check out

From mountain ranges, beaches, rocky shores, modern architecture to an old feel European town like Quebec city, Canada has plenty to offer for any production.

Sequoia Content takes us through some of the best places to shoot, the dos and don'ts of the region and the best hidden gems you need to check out.

How would you pitch Canada to any production companies looking to shoot in your region?

We have locations that represent North America. Canada plus the USA in looks. We have talent that represents globally.    

What are the main qualities of your region? 

We have gorgeous and diverse landscapes, mulit-cultural casting and first class crews. Oh yes, and really friendly people. 

What would you say are the top locations in Canada? What is available - from mountains, to beaches, to rocky shore, to architecture, etc. Include plants and wildlife and demographics. 

We have mountain ranges, beaches, rocky shores, modern architecture to an old feel European town like Quebec city.  There are wheat fields, corn fields, frozen lakes, icebergs and grizzly bears, wolves and even a Polar bear you can film with. 

Photo Credit: Moriah Wolfe

What location would you say is most popular?

Vancouver BC is one of the most popular filming destinations for a variety of reasons, partially due to its proximity to LA - and then of course all that it has to offer as a modern looking city that sits on the ocean and has mountains too. Pretty spectacular.

Explain the climate and the best/worst times to shoot in Canada? 

Canada is the 2nd largest country on the planet and has a variety of climates. Snowy long winters and hot summers are typical of most of the country. The west coast has a more temperate winter time with less snow.  

Photo Credit: Chong Wei

What specific work permits/Visas are required to shoot in Canada?

If you are bringing in a foreign job to shoot in Canada and you are from USA, UK or Europe, then a business visitor letter is required. Which our office, along with your help, provides. From other countries Visas are required and in some instances work permits.

For a government requirement to enter Canada from anywhere other than the USA, an ETA is required. It takes 3 to 5 business days and costs $7.00 

Photo Credit: Sean O'Brien

How is the infrastructure in Canada for supporting large productions? Access to high-level cameras and kit, casting, crews, studios etc.

In the major cities - Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal – major camera houses like Panavision and Keslow and equipment suppliers William F Whites, PS and a few others are here. Which means, it is pretty rare to not be able to find a piece of gear.  

TV commercials have been made in Canada since the '50s so there has always been a local depth of good solid film crews and production personnel available. And in the past 10 years there's been a great deal of American films and TV series and US based TV commercials filmed here. 

We have had the good fortune to be additionally trained by some of the best from outside the country. I'd say the infrastructure in Canada fully supports large productions.  

The casting is also very good both for non union and union talent.  And there are studios in all major cities in Canada.

Photo Credit: Narciso Arellano

What has been your biggest/most successful production in Canada to date?

So many to list but my favourites are the complicated big logistical ones. Like Sam Brown’s Lexus Swarm. Drones were kind of new technology when we did this project and we had to bring the drones and operators from a US government source and across the border, all rather clandestine at the time… But Sam somehow managed to give the drones personality, he is quite the master at that.     

As an outsider, what would you say are the biggest Dos and Don’ts in the region? 

Canadians consider themselves a very polite people who say 'sorry' a lot. They also love to talk about weather at the start of a conference call or if you are in an elevator. 

There are no real dos and don'ts other than respect all people, be polite to anyone you come across and don’t take photos of someone without asking them first.  

What would be your number one tip to any coming to Canada to shoot a campaign/film?

If coming anytime other than 'summer', bring layers of clothing as you could start with a a sweater and jacket and then just a t-shirt by the middle of day... then that jacket will be back on by the end of the day. 

Where would you suggest a foreign production stay while they are in *Canada*? Recommended hotels/accommodation/general area of the city

Each city offers some pretty good accommodations. These days folks seem to like to stay in Airbnbs so each city has many different options. Here are few of our favourites to recommend.

Toronto - Shangri La

Vancouver - Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Montreal – Auberge du Vieux Port

Where are the best bars/restaurants? Any hidden gems you could suggest?

That is a tough question as there are so many styles of food in the country. So depending on what you love to eat there are many to choose from. Here are a few  favourites from each major city:

Toronto – the Toronto Beach Club

Vancouver-  Cioppino’s

Montreal - Au Pied de Cochon

Any other tourist recommendations?         

Oh yes, there's so much to see in Canada. Especially if you love wide open spaces.    

- In Ontario – head south and see Niagara Falls and along the way check out some fabulous local vineyards. Also visit Prince Edward County, just a magical place. 

- In BC – take a ferry to Vancouver Island and drive through an old growth forest and check out the beaches in Tofino.  And of course when in Vancouver, head north to Whistler for some stunning scenery and snowboarding, skiing or hiking.

- In Quebec, take a stroll through old Montreal or a drive to Quebec city. 

- In Alberta take a drive east to Drumheller and check out the Badlands. There's also some excellent second hand clothing stores just south of Calgary in a town called Nanton. You never know what you will find!

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