Filming and Special Events: A How-To for B.C. Highways

We’re not the only ones who know British Columbia is a scenic place to work and play. Every year, filmmakers, actors and athletes from around the world use provincial roads and highways as backdrops for the big screen and terrain for local sporting events.

Before an event or any filming can happen, organizers must first get permission from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. A permit and a solid game plan help keep participants safe and reduce interruptions for travellers. Last year, the ministry issued 98 special event permits and 70 filming permits.

Looking to film or planning an event that will include provincial roads or highways? Here’s what to do, including some recent examples:

Special Event Planning on B.C. Highways

Event Types:

From triathlons to cycling races, sporting events are most popular on provincial roads. No surprise there, since B.C. features some of the most scenic and challenging routes in the country. For example, the Whistler GranFondo takes 7,000 cyclists 122 kilometres through the beautiful Coast Mountain Range from Vancouver to Whistler along Sea to Sky Highway 99. Provincial roads also fuel some important fundraisers, such as Cops for Cancer, GearUp4CysticFibrosis and Cycle 4 What Matters. Community parades and rallies are also events that rely on B.C. roads.

What You Need to Do:

It’s best to get started on the permit process early, as reviews and approvals from other agencies may be required. If you’re planning an event, feel free to contact your local ministry district office with your application, route map, scheduling and traffic control plan. These documents will determine approval for your permit. You may also need to work with police, traffic control companies and other local municipal authorities.

Read more information on permits and liability.

Filming on B.C. Highways

Filming for Final Destination 5 took place on the Lions Gate Bridge and Brunswick Gravel Pit

What do the Discovery Channel and Twilight‘s teenage vampires have in common? They’ve both been involved in recent filmmaking on B.C. highways.

A ministry permit is needed prior to filming on highways, bridges, tunnels and other provincial lands. The filmmaker or production company must contact the ministry’s Filming Coordinator for the forms and insurance, and are required to apply several weeks in advance. It’s important that traveller safety is considered in the planning process, so know the area you want to film and the types of traffic control measures needed. We can help you.

Read more information on filming requirements.Film set built along Highway 6 in Ymir

Our highways can set the stage for all kinds of special events and filming opportunities. By giving yourself time to follow the permitting process you help ensure your creative venture on the road runs smoothly. And remember, we’re here to help.

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