Netflix, CBC and CBS all came to Kingston last year to film in some of the city’s most historic spots, and although the city has played host to movie sets before, Kingston’s film office is calling 2019 a record year for film production.
Tourism Kingston said several smaller projects — 19 overnight productions and more than 60 single-day productions — came to town in 2019, while the filming of Netflix’s Titans, CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery were exciting new additions to Kingston’s film roster.
According to Tourism Kingston, the city’s success in booking larger productions had to do in part with opening up Kingston Penitentiary, Canada’s oldest prison, for film opportunities.
The use of the prison, which was closed several years ago and currently offers tours in the summer, was “made possible through a trial agreement between the City of Kingston and Correctional Service Canada,” Kingston Tourism said in a news release.
The filming of Star Trek was done quietly over a couple of weeks in December 2019 without much citizen involvement, but the two other productions, Murdoch Mysteries and Titans, were witnessed by hundreds of Kingston residents.
Episode 14 of Season 13 of Murdoch Mysteries, the long-running Canadian television series, was filmed entirely in Kingston at locations like City Hall, Springer Market Square, Kingston Penitentiary and the Cataraqui Conservation Area.
In September, more than 200 people showed up after the crew invited those in the city to watch the filming and meet the actors at Springer Market Square.
The episode is set to air Monday night on CBC.
As for Netflix’s Titans, when crews were in town in August filming Episode 11 of the show’s second season, a casting call was put out asking for extras to participate.
According to Tourism Kingston, the production employed over 120 extras and brought more than 300 cast and crew to the Kingston Penitentiary.
“Between sold-out hotels, multiple equipment rentals, local suppliers, site upgrades and more than 120 extras, the direct local economic impact is estimated at more than $250,000 for this single episode alone,” Tourism Kingston said.
Now, the film office is looking forward to the future, hoping to bring more productions to the city.
In late January of this year, the film office announced there were 15 music videos slated to film in Kingston in the coming year.
Each of those videos is looking for five volunteers who will be paid a $50 honorarium to participate in the productions in February, and the videos will be premiered at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival in March.