Film & Video productions

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

The Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic offers excellent opportunities for small and large film/video productions. In order for Parks Canada to best assess and accommodate your needs, a Film/TV Proposal is required. Please review the information below for complete details on how to submit a proposal and obtain a permit.

Submit a proposal

Download a Film/Video Proposal Form (PDF - 1.06 MB)

  1. Submit your completed form by email to:
  2. Parks Canada will screen your proposal for potential impact on cultural, natural and human resources and respect for the ecological and commemorative integrity of the park, historic site or marine conservation area
  3. The production conditions will be negotiated between Parks Canada and the production company, and Parks Canada will calculate applicable fees as per the attached fee schedule
  4. A production agreement will then be drawn up by Parks Canada and signed by both parties
  5. Payment must be received prior to the commencement of production activities
  6. Once payment is received, a permit will be issued and must be available for viewing on-site

Parks Canada supervision

If necessary, Parks Canada representative(s) will accompany the production crew for surveillance. When the production company activities have been completed, representatives from the production and Parks Canada will perform an on-site inspection.

Parks Canada Agency - Master List of Fees (CANADA GAZETTE)

Production Crew Size (persons) Application Fee (per project) Location Fee (per day)
1 to 6 $153.50 $511.25
7 to 15 $383.50 $1,022.75
16 to 30 $767.00 $1,533.75
31 to 99 $2,556.25 $2,045.25
100 and more $3,067.75 $2,556.25

Discounts based on content and client

Parks Canada will calculate the applicable fee based on the appropriate fee schedule and then apply any discounts. Discounts are additive by column to a maximum of 100%.

  • projects using a location as an identifiable location administered by Parks Canada; and
  • projects using a location purely as a backdrop or scenery with no reference to the location's significance
Discount schedule
Content Government use Non-profit / Student project Commerical project
Identifiable NP, NHS or NMCA 5% 10% 0%
Backdrop 0% 0% 0%
Communications objectives
  • productions presenting Parks Canada high priority messages without necessarily mentioning the Agency (i.e. Ecological integrity, commemorative integrity); and
  • productions contributing to the overall mandate of "Engaging Canadians": informing, influencing and involving (e.g. Youth, schools, tourism promotion)
Discount schedule
Content Government use Non-profit / Student project Commerical project
High priority messages 25% 50% 15%
Support to Parks Canada's "Engaging Canadians" Strategy 25% 50% 15%
Primary Use

Can be linked to:

  • Education
  • Tourism
  • Entertainment
Discount schedule
Content Government use Non-profit / Student project Commerical project
Educational 35% 50% 15%
Tourism promotion 35% 50% 15%
Entertainment 0% 0% 0%

Use of drones

Drone use is prohibited at Parks Canada sites without proper authorization. This includes lockstations, their respective properties as well as the marked navigation channel. Drone use at Parks Canada sites will only be authorized for a small number of non-recreational purposes. For further information, please contact Parks Canada at:

Rules and regulations for drone use

The use of drones has become popular over the past few years, and the legislation regarding their use has been updated. This information can be found on the Transport Canada website.

Should you wish to fly your drone adjacent to any of these areas along the waterways, such as adjacent private property or public lands under provincial or municipal jurisdiction, please read, understand and respect the following rules and regulations set out by Transport Canada:

  • Micro-drones are drones weighing less than 250 g
  • Pilots of micro-drones don’t need to register their drone or get a drone pilot certificate to fly them. However, you must not operate your drone in a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger aviation safety or the safety of anyone
  • There is an expectation that the pilot of a micro drone will use good judgment, identify potential hazards, and take all necessary steps to avoid any risks associated with flying their drone
  • As a good practice, you should always:
    • maintain the drone in direct line of sight
    • do not fly your drone above 400 feet in the air
    • keep a safe distance between your drone and any bystanders
    • stay far away from aerodromes, airport, heliport and waterdrome
    • avoid flying near critical infrastructures
    • stay clear of aircraft, at all time
    • do a pre-flight inspection of your drone
    • keep the drone close enough to maintain the connection with the remote controller
    • avoid advertised events

Frequently Asked Questions

Both the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal National Historic Sites of Canada boast unparalleled film, photographic and recreational possibilities. To care for these amazing places and ensure visitors' wishes are fulfilled, filming activities have special considerations. Below are some FAQs that may help with your application.

Canadians already contribute to national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas through taxes – why are there visitor fees?

Parks Canada's funding comes from two sources: tax dollars and user fees. Tax dollars are used to create and preserve national historic sites, national parks, national marine conservation areas, and historic canals since their protection benefits all Canadians. Visitors pay fees to help offset the costs of the services and facilities at Parks Canada administered places since they personally benefit from them.

How are user fee revenues spent?

Revenues from fees collected at national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas are vital to these places' operation and represent about 25% of Parks Canada's operating budget. These fees are reinvested to support visitor programs, services, and facilities, in addition to engaging visitors in conservation efforts. Visitor fees never exceed the costs of delivering the service to visitors; they only ever recover a portion of the costs, keeping visitor experiences affordable.

How far in advance must an application must be submitted?

Applications must be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to intended film/photography activities.

How are the applications assessed?

When reviewing a film permit application, Parks Canada staff will be assessing whether the timing or location of the production will have any impacts on our normal operations, such as site closures or requirements for the participation of lock staff. They will also assess whether there are any potential impacts of the production on the environment or cultural resources at the site. Finally, they will assess whether any discounts may apply to the film permit, such as if the production contributes to education or raising awareness of Parks Canada's places.

Engaging the Audience:
The more your audience knows about Parks Canada Places, the more likely they will be to appreciate these heritage places and support the work required to preserve and protect them.
Parks Canada is responsible for both protecting the ecosystems of natural areas and managing them for visitors to understand, appreciate, and enjoy in a way that doesn't compromise their integrity.
National parks tell the stories of Canada's natural beginnings - mountains forming, lakes emerging, rivers running, forests growing, glaciers moving, grasslands evolving - to anyone who takes the time to listen, to look and to understand. They also tell tales of human history, from traditional Indigenous activities to early exploration, European settlement, and modern use. They provide opportunities to learn about and connect with nature, people and events that define Canada.
How are fees set at Parks Canada?

In setting fees, fairness is a priority for Parks Canada. Prices must be set in a way where taxpayers are not overburdened. At the same time, visitors benefit from high-quality services supported through reasonable user fees.

When the government sets fees, they consider who will benefit the most from the provided service. Some services offer benefits to Canadians as a whole and provide a public benefit. Other services provide individuals with a personal benefit that is typically enjoyed only by the user. Typically, if only the user benefits, they would pay more of the costs. However, Parks Canada does not set fees to make a profit.

How are the discounts assessed?

Discounts are assessed using the following parameters;

  • Productions involving minimal equipment, crew size and impact on the environment and visitors;
  • Productions contributing to public awareness, appreciation and understanding of Canada's national parks/historic sites and Parks Canada;
  • Productions requesting off-season and/or weekday shooting dates
  • Productions involving minimal Parks Canada staff to be on-site

We want to help you showcase Parks Canada places at their best. To help with your planning, we can suggest location tips, best dates and times to avoid crowds, locations for a great view and unique story angles.

Is the Parks Canada permit the only one that is required?

If your shoot is only occurring on Parks Canada lands, then yes. However, if it is also occurring off Parks Canada lands, then other permits may be required. Local municipalities are the most likely other jurisdiction to be involved in film permitting.

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