Last Tuesday was the first official day of the start of school and certainly signifies the start of fall, with the cooler weather beginning.  With that being said, what a surprise it was to be driving down Algonquin Ave on my way into work and suddenly be immersed in a winter wonderland at St. Andrew’s Church at the corner of Cassells St. and Algonquin.  Early reminder of things to come.

The winter transformation of the Church and surrounding streets was obviously for the filming of one of the many film projects taking place in our City.  It is impressive to see this take place and the literally hundreds of people involved in the process.  It continues to amaze me at the level of productions and the involvement of the community in these productions.  From an economic perspective, what a boost to our economy and the spin off revenue that is being spent here in North Bay.

This hasn’t happened by accident.  Certainly, the lower Canadian Dollar has tremendous benefits for the production companies to film in Canada, but that alone does not make the business case for being in North Bay.  City staff in the Economic Development Department namely Erin Richmond and Tanya Bedard have been key players in promoting this industry and attracting new productions through their ever-growing network, within this industry.

The citizens of North Bay appear to have fully embraced this industry and although there maybe temporary disruptions, detours etc., they are pleased to see this type of economic activity.  In 2016, almost $9,000,000.00 in direct spending was generated by this industry.  This local spending included accommodations, caterers, trades people, restaurants, gas, actors and actresses and the list goes on.  This is an important industry that compliments much of our shoulder season where our restaurants, hotels, shops and the like, usually see a drop in activity.

The announcement earlier this year by Canadore College on a post production studio certainly recognizes the importance of this industry as well.  The strategic investment by Canadore to create this type of facility is invaluable for our area as it adds value and opportunity for the future.  The training of students in post production here in the north and the facility itself which no doubt will be utilized by the industry, is one more asset that will continue to promote North Bay over other area’s in not only Northern Ontario, but Canada as well.

As the fall and winter seasons for filming are gearing up and planning for additional filming is underway, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce wants to say thanks to the citizens and businesses of North Bay for embracing this industry.  Thanks for putting up with the minor inconveniences associated, as this industry has created a major boon to our economy.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.