Commercial Film Permits
With the exception of news media, any person or company wishing to access Town of Banff municipal property (including all public property) for the purposes of commercial photography, video, film and television—including documentaries—must obtain a film permit from the Town of Banff.
How do I know if I am filming within the Townsite?
Please refer to this map to see if you are filming within the townsite. Popular locations such as The Banff Gondola, Cave and Basin, The Norquay Meadow and the Golf Course are located on Parks land outside the town site.
You will need a permit from Parks Canada for commercial filming in Banff National Park, outside the town boundary and on Parks Canada managed land within the town site.
How do I know if I intend to film on Public or Private land within the townsite?
Public land include streets, roads, parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, environmental reserves, parking lots and pathways within the town’s boundaries. Examples are Banff Avenue, Central Park, Surprise Corner and The BANFF sign on Norquay Road. The exception is the Cascade of Time Gardens. This location is permitted by Parks Canada.
Private land would be inside a privately owned business (such as a shop on Banff Avenue) or land leased by a business (such as the Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel). Though you do not need a permit to film on Private land, the town does require written permission from the business to be provided and adequate insurance.
What does the Permit require?
To be processed every film permit requires the following:
a) Completed Application Form:
Permits cannot be processed if the application form is not completed.
b) A detailed Film Itinerary (between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.)
We need to know where and when you intend to film. Please be specific. Good examples would be:
- March 25, 2019; filming on Banff Avenue between Buffalo st. and Caribou st. from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- September 13, 2019; filming at Surprise Corner and the Pedestrian Bridge from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Submissions lacking specificity or with vague locations (such as Banff Avenue, or ’the bridge’) or with large blocks of time (12 p.m. to 10 p.m.) will not be processed.
Film permits cost $263 per day, or for any portion of a day. Banff charitable and non-profit organizations are exempt from the fee, as are owners and operators of public utilities.
Film permit fees will be waived if rental fees have been paid for the public place being used for the shoot. A permit with valid insurance is still required.
The minimum insurance requirement is for $2 million in general liability. "The Town of Banff" and "Her Majesty the Queen in the Right of Canada as represented by the Parks Canada Agency" must be named as additional insured parties.
e) Additional information may be required
Depending on the nature of shoot, some projects will require further information such as site maps, communication plans, and street use permits.
- Film Permit Application Form
- Applications for small-scale shoots must be submitted at least seven days prior to the shoot or the permit will not be issued.
- Applications for shoots that require road closures, traffic detours or parking removal, or that will involve more than 25 people, should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the proposed date.
Airspace within the boundaries of the Town of Banff is restricted due to local heliports. Therefore it is not permitted to fly drones inside the Town of Banff. You can see the no fly zone on this interactive map. Special arrangements with Transport Canada and Parks Canada may be made to fly drones within the national park. Contact these organization directly:
- Drones in Banff National Park
- Transport Canada
- Banff National Park Commercial Film and Photography Guidelines for the Mountain National Parks
Town of Banff film permits apply within the town boundaries only, find out if you are within the town boundaries. For filming outside the town but still inside the national park, you will need to obtain a permit from Parks Canada, call 403.762.1546 or email Banff Film for more information.
Depending on the nature of your shoot, you may need to be aware of some of the town’s bylaws. The most common bylaws related to filming activities are Street and Public Use.
Wedding Photography within the town site doesn’t require a commercial film permit, but wedding photographers do require a Town of Banff Business License in order to operate.
Photos: Top: Filming 1954’s River of No Return. Right: Filming 2013’s The Right Kind of Wrong (courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)