Where Can I Fly My Drone in Toronto

Flying Your Drone in Toronto, Ontario

Are you flying your drone in or around Toronto, Ontario? As Transport Canada states “Drones are aircraft – which makes you a pilot. When you fly your drone, you’re sharing the skies with other drones and aircraft…”. Before you fly your drone in Toronto you should understand the rules you must follow.

All drone pilots in Toronto (And all major Canadian cities) must follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARS) which can be found here on Transport Canada’s website. It’s also important to note that each Canadian city, such as Toronto, may have specific rules regarding where pilots can fly their drones and how they use them. However, the federal legislation should be upheld at all times regardless of the province you are in.

 

Toronto is statistically the largest city in Canada according to the last census by Statistics Canada (estimating over 2.7 million people) and is home to both a strong industrial labour force and retail. Quite often referred to as “Canada’s NY”, Toronto is diverse, and differentiated in many ways from the rest of Canada’s major cities.  From urban brands to corporate realtors drone pilots are in demand in Toronto and finding themselves using their drones for both professional work and personal use.  The surrounding communities and attractions such as Lake Ontario make for stunning areal photography and videography.

Common questions asked about where you can fly your drone in and around Toronto:

Can I fly my drone near the Toronto International airport?

  • While it may seem like a silly question, the answer is yes! But it has some caveats. Because the airport is in class C airspace, you’ll need to hold an advanced certification, have a drone that is safety assured for flights in controlled airspace (at least) and coordinate with air traffic control for authorization. If you have a sub 250g drone, I think it would be hard to argue that flying near the airport doesn’t cause a hazard, so best to stay away. 

Can I fly my drone near and over Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe and Rice Lake?

  • Launching from property owned by the City of Toronto will require permission but there are no restrictions from operating over these bodies of water! Just be careful near the downtown core as some of Lake Ontario is covered by controlled airspace around Billy Bishop. To fly there, you would need an advanced certification, a safety assured drone and permission from the airspace controller. 

Can I fly my drone in downtown Toronto?

  • This is not a good idea for the average pilot, despite what you might have seen around the Raptors win parade…
  • It’s not that it’s not possible. It’s just that it will require a ton of coordination – permission from the city, permission from NAV Canada, likely roadway restrictions – that you’ll need budget and time to pull this off. 

Can I use my drone on top of a Toronto park or school?

  • If you have permission from the property owner, stay far enough from bystanders as your drone requires and have the appropriate certificaiton, then sure! Something under 250g works well in this scenario.

How can I find out exactly where I can fly my drone in and around Toronto?

  • There aren’t any maps that say “fly here!” but you can use some of the resources below to help. Start with airspace. Avoid flying in busy, controlled airspace even if your drone is under 250g. While possible, it’s not smart, particularly with the amount of air traffic in and around Toronto’s downtown core and the hospitals.
  • Avoid areas with people who might complain. Try to go somewhere that’s not populated and give people a heads up whenever possible.

Can I get paid to take photographs or videos in Toronto with my drone?

  • You bet! If your drone is over 250g, you’ll need to hold either a basic or advanced certification. If it’s less, you can still sell the images you capture but a certification isn’t required. 

How much is the fine if I fly my drone somewhere in Toronto I’m not supposed to?

  • $3000 per infraction. So if you’re not certified, flying an unregistered drone in controlled airspace and get caught because you’re too near to people, you’re looking at up to $12000.

Who can I contact for more specific questions relating to flying a drone in Toronto?

  • Feel free to check in with us for specific guidance! If we don’t have the answer, we’ll find someone who does. [email protected]

 

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