Film and photography
Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands National Park offers a vast range of unparalleled film and photographic opportunities. In the interest of protecting the natural and cultural resources of the parks while ensuring visitor experiences are not impacted, these activities are subject to certain restrictions and special considerations and require planning.
If you wish to visit Parks Canada administered places and undertake a film or photo shoot, you may require a film permit, business license, or need to register your project - depending on the scale and nature of your project.
Applications should be submitted a minimum of 20 business days prior to your intended dates of filming. Choose your project category below for more information.
Small-Scale Travel Media Film & Photo Projects
Do I need a film permit, business license, or small-scale project registration?
Many small-scale projects only require project registration, rather than a commercial film permit. This registration form is for small travel media crews that wish to film or take photos in Parks Canada administered locations. “Travel Media” includes journalists, freelancers, photographers, videographers, bloggers and social media influencers.
Your project is considered “small-scale” if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Project is intended to inform audiences about the work of Parks Canada and/or to promote sustainable visitation to Parks Canada administered places.
- Crew size is six people or fewer (including models, guides and other talent).
- Equipment is limited to cameras, tripods, microphones, or other hand-held equipment.
- Activities occur in areas open to the public and during normal operating hours only.
- The filming methods used and final product adheres to all laws and regulations.
- No drones/UAV are used.
If you meet all of these criteria, complete the Small-Scale Travel Media Film and Photo Project Registration and return the form by email. You will receive a response that confirms or denies your registration and provides next steps.
If your project does not meet the criteria of a small-scale shoot, you must apply for a film/photo permit or business license. Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit application is required.
Tips for registering your small-scale travel media film and photo project.
- Your project should be registered 20 business days in advance. You are encouraged to submit early to ensure your project is not delayed. Please note that registering your project does not exempt it from standard visitors’ fees.
- A Guide to Film/Photo Shoots in Parks Canada administered sites is available to assist you with conducting your film and photo activities.
We look forward to working with you! Travel media are key partners in showcasing the beauty of national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas in Canada. Contact us for travel tips, best timing, and unique locations within these sites.
Commercial Film & Photography Permits
Commercial filming and photography activities require a permit. These activities include feature and short films, documentaries, television series, marketing, and other projects with a commercial intent that do not qualify as a travel media small-scale registration. Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit application is required.
What works well?
- Productions involving minimal equipment, smaller crew sizes and no impact on the environment and visitors;
- Productions contributing to public awareness, appreciation and understanding of national protected areas in Canada and the Parks Canada Agency; and
- Productions requesting off-season and/or weekday shooting dates.
Applications are assessed in relation to the Canada National Parks Act, park regulations and based on their contribution to awareness, appreciation and education about national protected areas in Canada, as well as safety considerations. If approved, a Commercial Film/Photography permit is issued.
Parks Canada reserves the right to refuse applications that are not in the best interest of the Agency’s mandate or to revoke permission at any time if the terms and conditions of the permit are violated.
Film permit application form (0.35 Mb)
Please complete the form with as much detail as possible to help us assess your application, including specific locations, dates, and times for filming, and detailed descriptions of the project and intent.
Full compliance with the Canada National Parks Act and Park Regulations is required. These include, but are not limited to:
- No open firearms, use of firearms (includes discharging of blank ammunition or explosives), or hunting;
- No damaging, destroying or removing natural or cultural resources;
- No feeding, enticing (e.g. baiting, calling), touching, harassing, or disturbing park wildlife;
- No littering or leaving food or garbage where wildlife can access it (all food and garbage must be stored or disposed of in bear-proof containers and/or packed out);
- No use of off-road vehicles anywhere in the park;
- No fires outside of designated fire rings or stoves supplied at park campgrounds and day use areas (cigar/cigarette butts and matches are litter and must be fully extinguished and disposed of appropriately);
- No camping outside of designated campgrounds and campsites;
- No entering of closed or restricted areas; and
- All aerial filming must comply with Canadian Air Regulations; the use of recreational UAV/Drones is not allowed and requires a Restricted Activity Permit in all other circumstances – see UAV section for details.
Application, location, and other fees may be applicable. Please complete the Filming Agreement application for more information.
Professional Photography & Videography (including Weddings)
Photographers or videographers capturing images and footage during their visit to Bruce Peninsula National Park or Fathom Five National Marine Park, with the intent to sell, require a business licence. Filming and photography covered within this licence must not impede park use and enjoyment by other visitors, damage cultural or natural resources, or disturb wildlife.Business licenses apply to the following activities:
- Wedding photography and videography
- Special event photography and videography
- Wildlife, nature, and landscape photography
- Stock photo or video capture
- If you are hired to take, or plan to sell photos taken in the parks
Visitors taking photos for personal use or as a hobby that are not for sale do not require a permit or license. Parks Canada rules and regulations apply to all film/photography activities, including respecting wildlife, closed areas, and natural/cultural resources.
Please note that Parks Canada business service standards are 15 business days to review and process fully completed business licence applications. Please contact the park for additional information.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs (including micro-drones <250g), are highly regulated in national parks to protect wildlife and preserve the experience of visitors, among other considerations. Regardless of drone size, UAV use in a national park requires both a Commercial Film Permit and a Restricted Activity Permit.
The use of UAVs for commercial filming purposes will only be authorized for the purposes of:
- Natural and cultural resource management
- Public safety
- Law enforcement
- Park/site management purposes, including selective filming for outreach, education and promotional purposes
Projects must fit one of the above purposes to be considered for approval at the discretion of Parks Canada. Anyone caught operating a drone within park boundaries without an approved permit may result in law enforcement action and a fine of up to $25,000. Recreational use of drones at all Parks Canada administered places is prohibited.
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