Location Spotlight: Manotick

While the town of Manotick may be over 150 years old, it seems only recently filmmakers have discovered its appeal. Historic buildings, a quaint main street, and luxurious homes offer productions many different looks while maintaining a small-town charm. Add in film-friendly businesses and sweeping river views, and you have everything you need to bring your project to life.

As with Ottawa itself, Manotick’s history begins with the building of the Rideau Canal. A small settlement formed in the area near the Long Island Locks in the 1830s, but the village wouldn’t see much in the way of development until 1860. That’s when Moss Ken Dickinson and his business partner Joseph Currier built the Long Island Flouring Mills, a grist and flourmill, with limestone from the Rideau River. A few year later, Dickinson constructed a beautiful Georgian-style home, the aptly named Dickinson House, which accommodated the general store, bank, post office, and telegraph office. Today, both Dickinson House and Watson’s Mill (formerly the Long Island Flouring Mills) welcome visitors who are eager to learn more about the history of Manotick.

Watson’s Mill and the serene Rideau River

The village would be further developed over the next 150 years, retaining its charm along the way and attracting residents seeking a quieter pace of life. Modest, historic buildings still grace the winding streets, as do modern, sprawling estates. Stroll down Manotick Main St. and you’ll be greeted by a mix of colourful shops, charming restaurants, and hip cafés, not to mention the friendly inhabitants who call Manotick home.

Manotick Main St.

At only 25 minutes from downtown Ottawa, Manotick offers the best of both worlds for productions – the ability to bring your Ottawa cast and crew without paying additional travel costs while enjoying the benefits of filming in an underused but film-friendly location. The Manotick BIA and the businesses it represents happily roll out the red carpet for visiting productions, as they did for Candy Cane Christmas, a Lifetime made-for-TV movie which shot in the area earlier this year.

But Candy Cane Christmas wasn’t the first film to shoot in Manotick and it certainly won’t be the last. Over the years, many productions have discovered this picturesque setting, including the feature film The Blackcoat’s Daughter (starring Kiernan Shipka and Emma Roberts), the Hallmark movie A Christmas for the Books, the Malayalam films Birds with Large Wings and Two Countries, and several made-for-TV movies.

“A lot of the people in Manotick are self-made, hard-working people who understand our goal to make art while creating job opportunities in the city. They’re often happy to help and be part of it all. And the BIA was amazing and so helpful. They even left all the Christmas decorations up for an extra two weeks for us which was a huge help to our art department and, of course, made for a beautiful movie!”  – Eric McAllister, Locations Manager on Candy Cane Christmas

On the set of ‘Candy Cane Christmas’ | Photo courtesy of Albert Camicioli

Whether you’re seeking a small-town look, historic buildings for a period show, or a unique café or shop you won’t find anywhere else, Manotick has it all. Ready to see more? Visit our Flickr page’s Small Town, Watson’s Mill or Rideau River albums, or contact us to learn why Manotick – and the greater Ottawa area – are the ideal backdrops for your next project.

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