North Bay Mayor Al McDonald is excited to see film and television productions in his city.
On Friday, the first official day of Stage 3 in Ontario, the mayor shared a video on Twitter touting North Bay as a good location for productions.
“It’s all about economic recovery readiness. It wasn’t just to the film industry it was to all business and industry to come and conduct business,” McDonald said in his tweet.
Television shows like Carter and Cardinal have used North Bay as its set in past years.
Now that productions will be able to begin filming again, McDonald is hoping that they will return to North Bay but is unsure when.
“That’s still unknown, to be honest. We have to get protocols and insurance is probably one of the biggest concerns that we have. You have to remember we’re thinking to the future we’re not thinking about just next week. We do know that we’re going to come out of COVID at some point.”
Should productions come back to North Bay, it will mean that people from all over the province – including the Toronto area, where there are a higher number of COVID-19 cases. It’s a reality that McDonald says that he’s ready for.
“We’re working with the Ontario Film Commission and obviously all of the safety regulations have to be followed…No, I’m not concerned. I don’t think any film is going to start tomorrow or the next week,” he said.
Most operations of a Film Production have been given the approval to resume since Phase 2, according to the Ontario Film Commission’s website. As per provincial guidelines, all companies, which would include film and television productions, are required to have a COVID-19 plan.
Despite the risks, McDonald says that the economic impact of just one production would be huge for North Bay.
“It is significant. It’s not just the people in front of the camera that everyone sees. It’s everyone behind the camera: it’s the location people, the restaurants, the caterers, the hotels, the businesses they spend money in,” McDonald said. “Any one production, TV or film, is a big impact. It also creates vibrancy for us to be able to keep our young people here in our community that want to be in that industry.”
And the payoff of having your town highlighted in a major production is something that Mayor McDonald will always enjoy.
“It’s just an incredible way to showcase your community. You talk about product placement – this is unbelievable; off the charts. To be able to show our city in its best light through a respected sitcom like Carter, it’s priceless.”