If you ever want to feel like you’ve stumbled onto the set of a holiday movie, the charming towns of Ontario’s Highlands are the place to be. Seriously, our small towns are so picturesque, they’re often used as the set for Christmas movies. Feel the holiday cheer for yourself when you visit these spots that you might even recognize in your favourite seasonal movies.
Almonte is the town for filming holiday movies – there are too many to list that have used this picture-perfect town as their backdrop! When you see Almonte under a blanket of fresh snow, you’ll know why. Here are just a few of the places you can visit that have been featured:
- Mississippi Valley Textile Museum: Spot this museum in “Fatman” (Amazon Prime) and “A Cheerful Christmas” (Hallmark) among others.
- L.G. Lee & Sons: This local hardware store on the main street looks straight out of a movie set already. “Christmas CEO” (Hallmark) and “Unlocking Christmas” (Lifetime) certainly agreed.
- Café Postino: An adorable restaurant in the iconic old post office caught the eye of the scouting crew on “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” (Hallmark).
- Almonte Riverside Inn: This beautiful inn on the shores of the Mississippi River will make its Christmas movie debut this year in “A Chance for Christmas” (Tubi).
Step into another movie set just 45 minutes up river from Ottawa. Arnprior may be new on the scene as far as movie sets goes, but we wouldn’t be surprised to find more crews setting up shop here in the years to come. Here are the famous spots:
- Urban Farm Girls Bakery & Cafe: Would it even be a Christmas movie if there wasn’t a bakery? Urban Farm Girls played the part of the local bakery in “Christmas on Wheels” (Lifetime).
- The Vintage Crate: The same movie featured scenes in the Vintage Crate, an antiques and gift shop just a few doors down!
With a beautiful historic stone bridge, a Christmas tree farm, and a ski hill, you can understand why several films have filmed in and around Pakenham. The locations you might recognize are:
- Pakenham Bridge: In “Fatman” (Amazon Prime), Mel Gibson’s character is shown driving over the stunning five-span stone bridge, the only of its kind in Canada.
- Mount Pakenham: Holiday movies need skiing, right? The local ski hill was used in the same movie.
- Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm: A covered bridge decorated with garlands makes this Christmas tree farm a no-brainer for several movies, including “Christmas Festival of Ice” (Hallmark).
An up-and-comer in the holiday movie scene, location scouts have started to notice Carleton Place’s cute downtown situated on the Mississippi River. Hit these spots to feel like a star:
- The Grand Hotel: This historic hotel is gorgeous inside and out, and was used as a set for “A Cheerful Christmas” (Hallmark).
- Town Hall: The extravagant Town Hall is a real eyecatcher and a favourite of local photographers. Watch for it in “Under the Christmas Tree” (Lifetime), new this year.
When you need to stage the classic scene where the love interest swoops in to intercept the protagonist right before their train departs, you go straight to Smiths Falls. There’s one place in particular that is perfect for those scenes:
- Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario: Both “A Christmas Stray” (OWN) and “The Christmas Setup” (Lifetime) filmed at this museum, which holds holiday events and tours by appointment.
The town may not have been the focus of a holiday movie but some famous residents were. Four of Winterdance’s dogs – Charlie, Maverick, Jester, and Howler – were recruited for a scene in “Snowbound for Christmas” (Netflix). The dogs were all 12 years old when it was filmed and were beyond pleased to find their favourite snack – Goldfish crackers – at the film’s catering table.