Schools Training

Best City to Film a Movie in Canada

28 FEB 2014
Career Path : Filmmaking and Film Editing

The Most Filmed City in Canada

Though there are many film-worthy provinces in Canada, Alberta is chosen most often. Alberta’s largest city, Calgary, has all of the scenic backdrops to fit a wide variety of movie locations. Calgary is little more than one hundred years old and is located at the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountain range. There are several sites in Calgary that capture movie directors and producers interest:

  • The Bow River Bridge
  • The downtown Victorian Palliser Hotel
  • The Saddle Dome sports arena
  • The revolving Calgary Tower
  • The Eau Claire Market
  • The Calgary Stampede
  • The Olympic Ski Jump
  • And the relic of a hospital that once housed polio patients in quarantine

But the advantage of filming movies in Calgary is more than just scenery. Calgary has a balanced blend of old and new that creates the right atmosphere and location for filming. Many American filmmakers have filmed parts of the city for their movies.

Another part of that balance is the urban city that spreads out over a prairie and into the foothills if the Rockies gently and smoothly. When movies need an urban scene and a rural scene, Calgary provides both. There’s a bit of gentlemen cowboy with a lot of upscale elegance among Calgary’s populace. Another feature of Calgary is its neatly arranged city streets.

Filmmakers learn that most streets in downtown Calgary are numbered according to their proximity to the Bow River. For example: 17 Street SW indicates that it’s seventeen streets southwest of the Bow River.

Modern and Quaint Calgary

When producers and directors look for movie locations, they try to maintain their budgets by choosing a city that fits multiple scene locations. Calgary’s southeast district is a reflection of the city’s early history. A few short blocks away, skyscrapers gleam under the huge dome of Calgary’s blue skies.

Another reason Calgary is chosen for movies is the weather and time element. From early spring to late fall, movies can filmed with relatively little delays from inclement weather. At the peak of a Calgary summer, the sun sets around nine in the evening and rises around five in the morning. For filmmakers, longer summer days offer longer hours of filming for movies. Calgary’s close proximity to the Canadian Rockies is a winter wonderland. Many producers and directors find it perfect for winter movie scenes. When a chinook, a unique dark, warming cloud, hangs over the city, this is a golden opportunity for filming.
One other city in Canada that often competes for best city to film a movie in Canada is Toronto. Many film schools in Canada seek students from the Toronto area. Toronto is to Canada as New York City is to the USA.

Visit Trebas Institute for more information on film schools in Canada.