North Bay has come in third in TV Ontario's Talented Town contest, behind second-place winner Parry Sound and first-place winner Bancroft.
Studio 2, TVO's award-winning talk show, launched the contest, which looked for communities that "attract and support the arts year-round – towns where artists live and interact, support each other, and feel inspired. Communities were asked to send in written and video submissions," TVO's Web site states.
Executive producer Doug Grant said that the goal of these contests is "to celebrate our beautiful province and get people talking and learning about Ontario’s rich history, geography, and culture. The documentary profiles we produce on the winning communities allow us to showcase and applaud some of the most worthwhile projects and ground-level leadership happening in the province today."
The contest was adjudicated by Studio 2 senior arts producer Judy Brake, Ontario historian Ron Brown, and artist Rob O’Flanagan, who is also a reporter for the Sudbury Star. This year’s competition drew nearly 150 entries from 55 communities from across province.
Judy Brake explains the judges’ criteria: “Lots of communities have a vibrant summer scene with festivals, but we looked at places that had something really interesting going on all year.”
Here’s what the judges had to say about North Bay:
Rob O’Flanagan: North Bay is a small city but it has the character of a small town. There is an unusually high concentration of gifted artists, writers and performers living and working in the community, and a network of galleries and schools that shine the spotlight on the arts. There must be something in water or in the air, but North Bay just has something seriously creative going for it.
Ron Brown: Here too we have an unlikely winner. From its beginnings as a railway town on the shores of Lake Nipissing, North Bay has become the capital of northeastern Ontario in more ways than one. Writers, musicians and artists have turned this once frankly dull town into northeastern Ontario's leading arts town. Canadore College has developed a major arts program, and having one of the world's best-known cartoonists (Lynn Johnson, For Better or for Worse) has certainly given the place an artistic sheen and the attention that just a few years ago wouldn't have seemed possible.