Sometimes we take our backyard for granted and need an actor who’s never been to Northern Ontario before to remind us how awesome North Bay and the surrounding areas can be.
Jerry O’Connell has been running around town since July taking in the scenery, the people, and all the other quirks North Bay has to offer. It’s been almost impossible to miss him with all the buzz across social media when people run into him around town, usually at his favourite local hangout spots. Oh, and he’s been filming the 10-episode police drama, Carter, in the meantime.
“There are a thousand things to do here, going to town, and the amazing restaurants, like the Crown and Beaver or the Station.” said the LA actor while filming at Amelia Park. “You can always find me at the Fraser Thursday nights for karaoke, or the Voy Friday nights, that’s our spot now.”
The New York born-and-raised actor had nothing but praise for the North, his summer here his first ever experience.
“I love North Bay. This is my first time in Northern Ontario and it’s gorgeous. It’s really fun to come to North Bay right now and I have a feeling it’s right before the rest of the world finds out about it,” he said. “People are so nice, it’s just a magical town. It’s a city with a small town feel. Places like North Bay—the secret is about to get out and it’s so exciting we get to capture it on Carter.”
O’Connell said he arrived in town just in time for the height of shadfly season, our annual phenomenon of which he was warned.
“I was warned about them, but I wasn’t freaked out by them. They don’t bite—they're just bugs. Plus, in LA we have a moth that’s pretty similar to them. Bugs are bugs,” he shrugged. “But I will say it made for a great icebreaker! I’d just roll into places like ‘how ‘bout them shaddies! I was shocked to hear that Nipissing University and Canadore College aren’t ‘the Fighting Shads,’ that’s crazy to me! Why are they the 'Panthers' and stuff that’s just bananas! And I was also coming up for the idea of a superhero up here called Shadman!”
See that story: A new local super hero in North Bay?
O’Connell was surprised to hear such a hero was already running around town, but he wasn’t slow to respond with a theory on the identity of the mysterious yellow-grey super hero.
“Maybe it’s me,” he said with a wink and a smile. “You don’t know, maybe I’m the Bruce Wayne of North Bay!”
Jokes and play aside, O’Connell was deeply impressed with North Bay and what it has to offer, saying he’s just not used to people being as nice as they are.
“This place is as much of a character in Carter as we all are so it’s fun to embrace it,” he said, excited for his family to visit. “My wife and kids will come up. She finishes her job next week and she’ll come up. I think I’m going to get one of these cabins on Lake Nipissing and have a good ol’time.”
And with the experiences he’s had, O’Connell is even more hopeful for the success of Carter, because it would also mean he would have yet another excuse to come back to visit North Bay—even on a more permanent basis.
“If Carter does well, we’ll look at coming up on a more permanent basis. I’ve got my eye on a couple of properties by the studio,” he said. “Some of those older houses there have beautiful architecture. Living in LA we don’t have those kinds of buildings and looking at these ones in town, those places must be over a hundred years old!”
So don’t be afraid to approach Jerry O’Connell if you see him around town, especially during karaoke night, as the past-winner might be looking for a brave duet partner.