This mini-England in Canada blends old-world charm with new-age experiences. All this against a postcard-perfect backdrop
Victoria, the capital of the British Columbia region of Canada, is also known as the City of Gardens for it is always blooming. Acknowledged for its innate beautiful gardens, coastlines, forests, beaches and lakes, the city is visited by countless tourists every year. This picture-postcard place was long-identified as North America’s most English city – shipshape gardens, Union Jack flagposts and residents celebrating warm afternoons sipping tea.
But it is the new generation that has taken over the city, outshining the old English culture which has given way to discotheques, lounges, cinemas, resto-bars and wooden-floor coffee joints swamped by youngsters and tourists. However, the English mores can still be seen in the form of heritage buildings, castles and schools built during that period.
Victoria is a unique blend of old-world charm and new-world experiences. As an island destination, Victoria offers filmmakers an escape from the hurried world. Boasting the mildest climate in Canada, the region is green and beautiful year-round.
All this, combined with plenty of space and services rendered by the various local production studios, make it tranquil for any kind of filming – a romantic evening to a deadly action sequence to an anecdote of yesteryear – the city has multiple personalities that helps it to transfer for anything and everything.
Victoria also holds many reminders of both its native and British heritage, and views of totem poles combine with afternoon tea. The focus of downtown Victoria is the inner harbour, overlooked by the Parliament buildings and the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Weather in Victoria
Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada and with an eight-month frost-free season, flowers bloom year-round. The average annual rainfall is 66.5 cm. Summers are pleasantly warm and dry, with an average maximum temperature in July and August of 21.8°C. Winters are mild, with rain and occasional light snow. The average temperature in January is 3°C. Spring can start as early as February.
WHY FILM IN VICTORIA
Breathtaking locales – castles, museums, houses, valleys, small towns, forests, schools, seashores, streets and alleys and parks – the list is endless. Victoria is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town atmosphere and mix of both English and Canadian cultures. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, marked by edgy mountains and Victorian architecture, the city has a world reputation for the presence of colourful flowers and for being eco-friendly and safe.
Facilities & Studios
Bay Film Studios and Island Industrial FX, both provide film and video production facilities. From studio space, built-to-specification locations to lighting packages, professional equipment and crew, everything is available to foreign filmmakers. These studios make production hassle-free.
All municipalities in Victoria are film-friendly and will expedite the permitting process whenever possible. Location managers are knowledgeable about local procedures, guidelines and any restrictions regarding sensitive locations or other areas of concern. Also, they are best-equipped to deal with the various city departments, film policies and officials.
Foreign productions in British Columbia can access a variety of provincial and federal tax credit programmes. And through this, a producer can combine them to access exceptional savings.
British Columbia Tax Credits
The British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) encourages film, television and animation production in BC and can be accessed by a broad range of foreign productions.
There are three components:
• The basic PSTC tax credit is 18 per cent of accredited qualified BC labour expenditures.
• The new Regional Tax credit is 6 per cent of accredited qualified BC labour expenditures.
• The new Digital Animation or Visual Effects Tax credit is 15 per cent of accredited qualified BC labour expenditures.
Canadian Federal Tax Credit
The Canadian Federal Government’s Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) is primarily for foreign productions and has been increased from 11 per cent to 16 per cent of Canadian labour costs.