Hallmark’s Shifting Gears: Filming Locations and Cast Details

Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe’s film directorial debut, ‘Shifting Gears’ takes us to the bustling streets of Motor City, where mechanic Jess Barro and her father Ray struggle to keep their family-owned automotive garage afloat amidst stiff competition from a big auto repair chain. Jess has a passion for restoring classic cars, and when an auto restoration competition is held in their town, she participates, hoping to win the prize money and save her family business. As soon as she reaches the event, Jess is shocked to see Luke, her ex-boyfriend and the son of her dad’s former business partner. The two share a past rift stemming from Luke’s father cutting Ray out of the business, which led to Jess ending their relationship.

As the show progresses through challenging restoration tasks, Jess and Luke’s personal rivalry becomes a sensation with the audience. As the two work toward the final round, their shared passion for classic cars begins to reignite their feelings for one another. The Hallmark romantic comedy immerses us in the vibrant atmosphere of Motor City and its car-restoring competition, bustling with a compelling mix of vintage vehicles, mechanical work, and romance. As the former lovers navigate the twists and turns of the competition, Jess and Luke must decide if their love is strong enough to shift gears and overcome the obstacles in their path and past. The film’s unique backdrop could spark interest in discovering the sites used during filming.

Where Was Shifting Gears Filmed?

‘Shifting Gears’ was filmed entirely in Ottawa, Ontario. Shooting for the movie took place in late 2023, and the project serves as the debut of the Make Her Mark women’s directing program at Hallmark. The first beneficiary of the program, director Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe, wrote, “I have never felt more like myself than when I was on that set directing. Finding my voice and telling a story. It was pure magic for me.”

She, along with most of the cast and crew, remained in high spirits behind the scenes. For the disco skating scene of the film, some of the actors had to undergo light training before the shoot. Much to everyone’s amusement, actress Kristin Booth had a dramatic fall while skating on set. Let us take a closer look at the filming destination employed for the Hallmark production.

Ottawa, Ontario

The production team chose the capital city of the Great White North to house the film and its scenes. Boasting a picturesque waterfront, grand Victorian architecture, a cosmopolitan cityscape, and peripheral locales with small-town ambiance, Ottawa is known to be a versatile filming location. For ‘Shifting Gears,’ the film crew ventured to sparser urban areas to film outdoor scenes such as Luke riding his motorcycle and the festive atmosphere of the car show. Most of the interior sequences, including the skating scene, were lensed in a studio space.

Besides the landscape of Ottawa working as a standing set, the city becomes an even more attractive destination for filmmakers due to its film-friendly policies, infrastructure, and helpful local authorities who lend assistance in scouting for shooting sites. The Ottawa Film Office asked director Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe about her experience shooting the movie in their city. Her reply in their LinkedIn post read, “Loved shooting in Ottawa! The team in Ottawa were a beautiful group of incredibly talented people. I’m proud to have shot my first film with Hallmark there.”

Shifting Gears Cast

Katherine Barrell leads the Hallmark movie as Jess Barro. Jess walked into the limelight with her performance as Officer Nicole Haught on ‘Wynonna Earp.’ She has also taken up the roles of Joy Harper in ‘Good Witch,’ Alicia Rutherford in ‘Workin’ Moms,’ and Emma in ‘A Tale of Two Christmases.’ Partnering up with her is Toronto-born actor Tyler Hynes as Luke. Tyler began acting professionally at the age of eight and started off his journey through theatre. His debut feature film was ‘Little Men,’ and went on to reprise the role of Atreyu in ‘Tales from the Never Ending Story,’ and Will Bauer in ‘Amazon.’ He gained acclaim for his performance as Sgt. Reece in ‘Recon,’ and as Dierks in ‘Letterkenny.’

Further rounding out the cast is Kristin Booth as Teri. You may have seen Kristin in ‘The Boys,’ ‘The Kennedys After Camelot,’ ‘Workin’ Moms,’ and ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar.’ Other cast members include Ray Galletti as Wayne Larouche, Joseph Claude Dubois as Car Collector, and Colton Royce as Pete.

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