Parts of Waterloo region have had their fair share of hosting film crews and productions, but nothing like the City of Cambridge, which has seen vast growth in the sector over the past decade.
Just in 2022, Cambridge set a new record of 75 days of filming, with lots of interest in the Ontario city’s three cores areas, says Matthew Walker, economic development officer for film and marketing with the city.
“A big part of Cambridge’s lure is that incredible look of being a picturesque area. Cambridge does a lot of the selling it self,” Walker told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo as part of the station’s special 10th-anniversary coverage.
That’s “due to different types of values in our location assets raging from our historic core areas to all types of different venues throughout the city.”
Cambridge has served as the backdrop for shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Murdoch Mysteries, Queen’s Gambit, V Wars and October Faction, as well as others, including a number of holiday TV movies.
Walker said the city is hosting two film productions now and filming for The Invisibles just wrapped up.
The city really started to promote itself as a location for TV shows and films in 2015, and since then, the number of inquiries and film days have increased largely due to the success of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Walker said the city gets a variety of inquiries and asks from location managers, all unique in what they are looking for. He also said the city is “very inclusive” of what they want to see filmed.
“We want to make sure that any project regardless of its size and regardless of budget will be welcomed no matter what they are going to be looking for and how long they are looking to do it.”
Film scene has brought in tourism
Cambridge’s film scene has also brought foot traffic and tourism to its downtown cores, which has had a positive impact for local businesses, said Brian Kennedy, executive director of the Downtown Cambridge BIA.
“We have seen tremendous impact from productions being filmed here, especially when it comes to people visiting the area, like tourists, to see where some of these notable TV show and movies have been filmed,” Kennedy said.
“In terms of shooting days, they’ve also brought out a crowd of people that serves our businesses as well for shopping and dining.”
Kennedy said Cambridge’s film scene has also created a sense of community pride.
“There’s a great sense of pride and excitement to see Cambridge looked at in a different light and depicted on the big screen.”
The next 10 years
Walker and Kennedy foresee lots of room for growth in the city’s film scene over the next decade as well.
Walker said he’d like to see more Canadian film productions and talent come to Cambridge to film.
Kennedy also anticipates great opportunity for post-secondary schools in the area to offer programs in film production.
“Productions and productions in general across Ontario, both stir more of a business case for our post-secondary schools like Conestoga College to look at maybe doing more film programing and potentially studios opening in the region than just in the [Greater Toronto Area],” he said.
LISTEN | Cambridge’s film scene has come a long way. Here’s where staff want to see it go next:
The Morning Edition – K-W6:46Cambridge’s film scene has come a long way. Here’s where staff want to see it go next