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Film and television productions return to North Bay

Film and television sets will be resuming production in North Bay as soon as August 24.

Mayor Al McDonald alongside councillor Johanne Brousseau made an announcement to the media that North Bay is open for film and television productions after temporarily shutting down due to the pandemic.

McDonald is excited to bring productions back to the city.

“This industry has not only created excitement and vibrancy in the city but has generated interest and awareness of our community on the world stage,” said Mayor McDonald. “We are pleased that crews are returning to the set and look forward to seeing North Bay showcased by the industry anew.”

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During the announcement, McDonald also revealed 2019 statistics on the economic impact of the film and television industries on the North Bay economy. The announcement was supposed to be done in the spring, getting cancelled because of the pandemic.

In 2019, North Bay was home to 15 productions, with 377 total filming days involving 246 locations which resulted in roughly 16,000 hotel stays.

In total, just over $46 million was spent in North Bay from the film and television industry in 2019.
In 2018, there were 177 filming days across 140 locations generating $13 million in spending.

McDonald recognizes that the 2020 numbers will be nowhere near the previous year’s.

“It depends on how many productions are able to get up and running,” McDonald said. “It would be a significant difference from 2019.

Production companies that film in Ontario are required to follow provincial labour guidelines. This means that face masks, physical distancing and sanitization efforts will be in place when productions resume in the city.

Brousseau adds that people in the city should be considerate of film and television sets when they resume.

“These are workplaces, so we ask you to be considerate if you want to visit a set. We encourage you to wear a mask if possible and stick to the public health guidelines,” she said.

McDonald adds that the city has been in contact with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to ensure there is no risk to public safety in bringing people from around the province to the city.

“There are people from Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor in North Bay right now and they’re not even connected to the film industry,” McDonald said, adding anyone who comes to the city must follow the guidelines which have been put in place by the Health Unit.

On Monday, August 24, a Christmas film Too Close for Christmas will begin filming in downtown North Bay. David Anselmo, a producer on the film, says that he is looking forward to investing in the infrastructure of the North Bay community.

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