Drone captures unique view of Ottawa's iconic landmarks

A CBC crew got special permission to use a drone to shoot footage of some of Ottawa's— and Canada's — most iconic landmarks. Here's a glimpse of what they captured.

CBC crew got special permission to capture new perspective of Ottawa's landmarks

A drone approaches the Peace Tower as it captures footage of Parliament Hill. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

They're some of Ottawa's — and Canada's — most iconic landmarks like you've never seen before.

In May, a CBC crew got special access to Parliament Hill and nearby monuments including the Supreme Court of Canada, where they used a drone to shoot video and images.

The result is spectacular aerial footage that will serve as an important visual archive of Ottawa for years to come.

A drone captures footage of Parliament Hill buildings and construction on an overcast spring day. 3:00
A drone captures footage of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on an overcast spring day. 1:12

CBC producer Patrick Morrell and videographer Ed Middleton spent three days in the capital last spring to shoot the Hill, the Supreme Court, the Canadian War Museum, the National War Memorial and other nearby landmarks including the Ottawa River.

CBC videographer Ed Middleton, RCMP escort Cpl. Martin Roy, and CBC producer Patrick Morrell. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
"It was a bit of a coup for us," said Morrell, who started making calls about the project back in March. They had to get permission from the RCMP to fly the drone in the restricted airspace over Parliament Hill.

"It's not unheard of, but it is a rare opportunity for a broadcaster to shoot the Parliament Hill buildings [like this]," he said.

"It's great to get this kind of footage for historical purposes. But it also gives us a rare look for our Canada 150 coverage."

A drone captures footage of the National War Memorial and its sentries on a sunny spring day in Ottawa. 0:49

The RCMP wouldn't let them fly the DJI Inspire drone over the Hill while Parliament was in session, and Morrell thought he and Middleton wouldn't have an opportunity to get this footage until MPs recessed for the summer. 

But he noticed a break in their calendar after the Victoria Day long weekend, and coordinated their shoot for that week.

A drone captures footage of the Canadian War Museum and nearby construction on a sunny spring day. 2:03

With only a few days to shoot, the crew "really lucky with the weather," Morrell said.

After a brief rainy spell one day, the clouds broke to reveal a stunning sunset that washed the Parliament buildings in an orange glow.

A drone captures footage of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa river at sunset and dusk in spring. 1:50
A drone flies over the Ottawa River with the Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill in the background. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)