Drone videos and photography in Toronto
Drone videos and photography are everywhere at the moment. Newly affordable and now widely available, unmanned aerial vehicles have the ability to capture views of the city never thought possible, and in the process reveal to us things about how we live and move around. Since more and more people are taking to the skies, here's a look at the current lay of the land for Toronto drone users.
LEGAL AND WHERE TO FLY
Right now, there aren't many hard rules governing when and where drones can fly. According to Transport Canada, "if your aircraft weighs less than 35 kg and is used for recreational purposes, you don't need permission to fly." But that doesn't mean drone owners can just do what they like.
Transport Canada strongly recommends drones stay at least 9 kms from any airport, airfield, helipad, military base, or other aircraft take-off or landing spot. And that's for a good reason. Last summer in Toronto, air traffic control at Pearson Airport was forced to divert multiple planes to a different runway after pilots spotted a drone flying nearby.
Unfortunately, staying 9 kms from an airport in Toronto is hard. As Global News reported in March, Scarborough is just about the only place within the city limits that's sufficiently clear of aviation activity.
The federal body that regulates the use of Canada's airspace also advises drone users to stay below 90 metres and steer clear of highways, busy streets, populated areas, and crowds, lest something like this happen. Avoid letting drones travel out of sight, don't spy on your neighbours, and never harsh the chill of sunbathing monks.
Potential changes could be in the works. In May, the feds launched a series of public consultations with an eye to developing a set of laws for drone users. The same month, Toronto city council voted to study the use of drones in public places. At time of writing, nothing has been decided, but the landscape could be about to shift.
Thanks to the drone's unique ability to capture real-time aerial views, police have also shown interest in their use. So far, apart from a one-time demonstration, Toronto police say they haven't deployed any remote-controlled flying vehicles (Edmonton police and the RCMP have, however.) The Canadian Armed Forces say they haven't adopted drone technology, according to Metro News.
WHERE TO BUY DRONES IN TORONTO
DRONE EVENTS AND MEET-UPS
Drones aren't just for photography, however. In Collingwood recently, a group of amateur UAV enthusiasts convened for one of the first ever Canadian drone race meets. Some of the specially-designed vehicles, which are piloted using special video goggles, can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h.
Want to meet fellow drone enthusiasts? Check out the Toronto Drone page on Meetup.com.
PROFESSIONAL DRONE PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS
For the armchair fan, there are always these beautiful videos. You can also hire professional drone operators to make a video for you. Sky Snap, Sky Eye Media, and The Sky Guys in Toronto all specialize in UAV aerial shoots.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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