Filming in Cobourg

With Murdoch Mysteries once again filming in Cobourg on October 30, and Netflix filming twice recently, citizens are asking “How does Cobourg win from all this?”  Most of the filming takes place in Cobourg’s historic downtown so it’s not surprising that the DBIA (Downtown Business Improvement Area) asked the same question.  At their September 5th Board meeting, the Town’s Marketing and Events Manager, Kara Euale, was asked to make a presentation on the subject and I thought others would be interested in what she had to say.  Cobourg has policies on the subject, requires approval from multiple departments and has fees that must be paid.  Basically, filming is encouraged because the Town believes it can “provide both direct and indirect economic and social benefits to the Town and community.”

Murdoch in Cobourg
Murdoch in Cobourg

Murdoch filming has been coming to Cobourg for some years – the photo of Murdoch being filmed in front of Victoria Hall is from June 2015.

Here is what Kara said – her full presentation in Powerpoint is in the Links below.

Approvals required

  • Cobourg Police Service
  • Cobourg Fire Department
  • Public Works Division
  • Parks Department
  • DBIA (if applicable)
  • Victoria Hall Building and Maintenance Department (if applicable)



  • Filming Application Fee $100
  • Downtown Businesses – to be negotiated with owner
  • On Site Staff Liaison $50.00/hour
  • Parking Lots to be negotiated with Public Works
  • Residences to be negotiated with owners. Surrounding Streets may be subject to additional costs if traffic is potentially disrupted.
  • Streets (Closures/Intermittent Traffic Stoppages) $500.00/day + Paid Duty Police (to be negotiated with Cobourg Police) + 20% administration fee (Minimum 4 hours)

Waterfront/Victoria Park

  • Bandshell $500.00/day
  • Beach $500.00/day
  • Marina $500.00/day
  • Piers $500.00/day
  • Trailer Park $500.00/day

Victoria Hall

  • Art Gallery to be negotiated with the Director of the Art Gallery of Northumberland
  • Court Room $500.00/day
  • Council Chambers $500.00/day
  • Concert Hall & Dressing Rooms $500.00/day (weekdays), $800.00/day (weekends)
  • Outside Grounds $500.00/day

Filming Parks

  • Coverdale $500.00/day
  • Donegan $500.00/day
  • James Cockburn $500.00/day
  • Legion Fields Sports Complex $500.00/day
  • Sinclair Park $500.00/day
  • Victoria Park $500.00/day

There may be additional fees; e.g. clean-up costs, sundries, Town vehicles, staff.


Financial Impact of Filming

  • Local Restaurants & Bars
  • Local Retail Businesses
  • Local Hotels and Accommodations
  • Local caterers and suppliers
  • Security
  • Location Application Fees & Municipal Permitting Fees
  • Local employment opportunities e.g. Extras

Economic and Social Benefits of Filming

  • Buzz and excitement over filming in Cobourg
  • Residents excited about potential of meeting film/television stars and celebrities
  • Opportunity to see hometown featured on the big/silver screen
  • Encourages earned media coverage – Global News & CBC Radio featured  stories about Ginny and Georgia
  • Encourages Tourism – Bringing outside money to Cobourg
  • People interested in visiting the set of their favourite TV show or Movie
  • Port Hope – IT Filming Location Walking Tour
  • Unionville – Gilmore Girls Fan Fest

The Town of Cobourg has not published any report on financial benefits to Cobourg but Kara provided this example from Port Hope.

Impacts of Filming in Port Hope: 2018

$1,320,000 total spending

Restaurants $10,000
Accommodations $350,000
Extras $180,000
Local Supplies $75,000
Location Costs $615,000
Security $90,000

From my own observations, Cobourg residents are happy enough to see filming happen here and downtown merchants seem happy enough – especially those actively involved who get paid for their trouble.


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Wally Keeler
21 October 2019 5:26 pm

The Anglican Church made a haul hosting the recent film crew for several days. The money took care of church business, such a providing kindergarten, and satisfying other social needs.

21 October 2019 4:13 pm

Let’s ask Port Hope what their rates are…bet they are a lot more than Cobourg…$500.00 to close down Hwy #2 (King St.) Seems low to me. How about some style of parity with Port Hope?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  cornbread
21 October 2019 5:29 pm

here ya go, Port Hope’s charges,
Let us know how the comparison works out.

“Impact on filming in Port Hope 2018
$1,595,000 total spending
Local Supplies
Location Costs
$90,000 “

21 October 2019 9:48 am

Can anyone rent Victoria Park or the beach or the Bandshell for $500 or are these a special rate only available to movies?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 11:59 am

Can you suggest an appropriate price that Cobourg should charge for the use of the bandshell, or Victoria Park? $2000 a day? or maybe $5000 per day?. How much would you like to stiff them?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 October 2019 12:27 pm

You stiffed them for a few hundred bucks for the loan of a tricycle. I would think that we could “stiff” them more than $500 to close off our main street and to have them use Victoria Hall as a backdrop.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
21 October 2019 2:04 pm

If course I stiffed them. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the situation.
So what do you think the Town should charge for a 6hour street closure? or Bandshell rental or a portion of Victoria Park? Step up to the plate and give us some numbers.

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 October 2019 6:05 pm

It’s called supply and demand and Wally negotiated a fair market price for the use of his trike. Good for you Wally. Well done!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 October 2019 12:51 pm

I never suggested stiffing them with a higher price. I wondered if a resident could rent Victoria Park for a day for $500.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 2:05 pm

Sure, why not? All ya gotta do is have a valid reason and abide the regs.

The gist of your earlier postings is that Cobourg was being stiffed by the movie companies in comparison to the wad of cash that Port Hope gets and how should Cobourg get more $$$$$$. So you are quite satisfied with the $500 a day charge?

Leona Woods
21 October 2019 8:18 am

A friend from Chickamauga Georgia who can watch Murdoch through a service she subscribes to is keen to visit Cobourg to see where the filming has taken place. We can build the fact that we are a filming location into our promotional materials. People travel from all over the world to visit “Downton Abbey”.

Reply to  Leona Woods
27 October 2019 12:50 pm

Victoria Hall is used repeatedly across multiple seasons as the exterior of Union Station, so even if most of the other In-Cobourg locations have been disguised or are only unidentifiable portions, that one is definitely usable as a direct tourist-attracting fact.

21 October 2019 8:11 am

Maybe the town could collect a file of residents who would offer up their period homes, buildings, airbnb’s, picture cars and motorcycles for productions and make available to location scouts.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Phunkeemum
21 October 2019 11:46 am

“The Ontario Media Development Corporation’s location library is a resource for property owners who would like to have a property used as a film or television location.”

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Phunkeemum
21 October 2019 3:32 pm

The old Dye Works on William St. had lots of quaint and historic-looking spots that would be a big attraction these days to film crews such as this, but so much of it is now gone. I’m probably one of the very last around here who can remember that place as it used to be.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Jim Thomas
21 October 2019 5:36 pm

I recall that place when we were kids. Once in a while there was an accidental spill and Factory Creek, as it was called then, turned burgundy or whatever colour. The barrels of dye arrived and were initially stored in the warehouses by the harbour. Some young wags one night rolled a barrel of red die into the harbour with a wonderful effect for a day. There were no boats other than industrial coal boats or tanker boats.

Old Sailor
20 October 2019 9:42 pm

We are lucky that we have locations in Cobourg that are of interest to period film producers. Where I am lost is in the logic of including the Port Hope $1,320,000 spend chart in the above presentation. Given how we only charge a daily fee of $500 for the use of the beach, $500 for Victoria Park and $2,000 for all of Victoria Hall’s three floors and exterior, I am wondering how the cash benefit to the town exceeds say $5,000 or the cost of renting one campground site for the season. I would be interested to hear from local businesses that feel that they benefit from these filming events.

Reply to  Old Sailor
20 October 2019 11:58 pm

One of the times Murdoch was filming, they used the parking lot in back of my store. I was paid for that, and also several members of the film crew shopped in the store. I’d say I made about $400 directly from them, and then also a somewhat harder to define amount in residual sales from both the people who came downtown to spectate the filming, and a number of Murdoch fans who came specifically to look out my back windows to try and catch a closer look at Yannick.

Reply to  Dan
21 October 2019 8:37 am

Good Sh*t Dan!

Reply to  Dan
21 October 2019 8:46 am

Port Hope got $1,320,000 for filming. Amazing if true!

The Cobourg filming was good for Dan (was that $400 in sales or $400 in profit?). Perhaps some workers stayed at the Best Western. Cobourg charged a few thousand for blocking streets. A friend had a great excuse to visit Leona. Taken together are these benefits sufficient to inconvenience the 18,000 residents of Cobourg?

Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 9:03 am

That’s assuming everyone is inconvenienced by it. I’ve never been inconvenienced by filming, and if I were, I would not care.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 9:28 am

Amazing if true!

So you posted unsubstantiated information, and used that speculation to opine on behalf of 18,000 residents.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 October 2019 9:45 am

What unsubstantiated information? The $1,320,000 number was provided to John by Kara and repeated with a modicum of incredulity. In any case it is unrelated to Cobourg’s benefit. The benefit to Dan was his stated benefit. The guessed payment to Cobourg was based on the town’s rates as provided by John.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 9:35 am


Every time a movie comes to Town, a lot of Cobourg residents show up to spectate; they don’t appear to be inconvenienced — quite the opposite. Dan doesn’t seem to have been inconvenienced, nor Best Western, nor anyone else I know.

Quite a display of ingratitude Dubious.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
21 October 2019 11:41 am

Here’s the deal; “Third Act Productions Inc. in partnership with Warner Bros. and New Line Entertainment” are very big time movie production houses, whereas Murdoch Mysteries is a relatively small time tv production.

The IT movie remained in Port Hope for a far more lengthy time than did the brief handful of days from Murdoch Mysteries.

The IT movie required a fully constructed set that took days to build and take down, let alone during the filming on the set. A lot of local workers were hired to construct the set. Check out the location costs. And security was needed for 24 hours day after day while the set was there.

The question isn’t that Cobourg is not stiffing the movie industry enough; the issue is how does Cobourg attract a major movie production — other than jacking up prices to run them out of town to elsewhere. That is the question, not the pettiness of $500 to rent a section of Victoria Park or some other nickel and dime whine.

Reply to  Dubious
22 October 2019 1:03 pm

Short answer – YES!

Doug Lawrence
Reply to  Old Sailor
21 October 2019 8:44 am

The last time Murdoch was in town the location manager visited us to ask if we’d participate in there ‘Murdoch Dollars’ program. They would hand out these ‘dollars’ to spend at participating retailers. We probably did $750+ on the day if shooting, as well a number of crew stopped in at end of day to purchase a bag of goods to take hime. We look forward to their return.