The world in one city
Ottawa is a versatile location. We have it all—the big city, small towns, American and European architecture, rugged outdoors and the ability to travel back in time in historic districts. Office towers, grand homes, gothic revival architecture and working-class streets are all part of our impressive location roster. We even have locations that can stand in for the Middle East.
The best part is you can access multiple locations in a single day. Ottawa puts more than 4,700 square kilometers (2,900 square miles) of urban, suburban, rural and wild spaces within an easy drive of downtown.
Did you know that the Ontario Media Development Corporation has comprehensive photos and contact details for over 200 Ottawa filming locations, including private residences, bars, restaurants, museums, parks and more at their Digital Photo Library? Start browsing now to find your perfect spot – you can sign up for FREE access here.
With a regional population of more than 1.2 million people, Ottawa has a dense downtown core that can stand in for an American city. There are also architectural elements that look European, including a canal and lock system, and gothic revival buildings. There are myriad neighbourhoods that offer everything from grand homes on tree-lined avenues, to trendy urban living and tougher gritty alternatives. Ottawa’s more than 850 parks also mean that green space is never far away.
Ottawa is part of the Ottawa Valley, which features historic towns and beautiful farmland. Access to filming in charming villages and farms can be arranged through the Ottawa Film Office.
Lakes, rivers, hills, mountains and bogs are all waiting for you. Ottawa’s origins as a lumber town is obvious the moment you leave the city limits. Unspoiled natural spaces are maintained by the National Capital Commission (NCC), an important Ottawa Film Office partner. The NCC also maintains a series of beautiful parkways that provide sweeping entrances to the city.
Monuments, museums and government spaces
Ottawa offers all the grandeur that comes with being the capital of a G8 country. It owes some of its cosmopolitan flair to being home to 130 embassies and consulates. Named the capital by Britain’s Queen Victoria in 1857, Ottawa retains its proud colonial past. The parliamentary precinct features gothic revival buildings and grounds, which can accommodate 100,000 people, overlooked by our answer to Big Ben in London. A war memorial, railway hotel and former railway station anchor the eastern edge of the precinct. To the west lie the Supreme Court and national archives. National museums and galleries reflect the city’s role as a nation’s capital.
Commercial and corporate spaces
Founded in 1827, the ByWard Market is Canada’s oldest continually operating farmer’s market. It’s a bustling market area ringed by boutiques and artisanal shops. Elgin Street competes with the Byward Market for buzz. Both areas are home to bars, clubs and other nightlife. Office towers, heavy industry and light industry are also available.
Universities and colleges
Home to the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College and La Cité Collégiale, Ottawa has the most educated workforce in Canada. There is no shortage of campus locations and there are more than 120,000 students to fill them.
All the settings and looks to fit your story!
From period dramas to modern romantic comedies, action thrillers to horror films, Ottawa has hosted it all! Need a look that you don’t see here? Drop us a line and we’ll help you scout the perfect location.
"A place like Albuquerque pretty much looks like Albuquerque. You have to go to great lengths to make it look like a different place, whereas Ottawa is endlessly adaptable. It can double for Chicago or Boston or parts of New York. We found that the city has a lot to offer."
Aaron Ryder, Producer
“House at the End of the Street”
toonaripost.com, September 2012
Filmed entirely in the Ottawa region, this film starring Jennifer Lawrence, tied for number one at the North American Box Office on opening weekend.
“We had scouted all over the States and Canada to find the perfect setting. Ottawa provided that, in spades."
Director, “The Day”
TIFF Interview, September 2011