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Sudbury's Hideaway Pictures builds an entire Western town near Powassan

'There are not a lot of sets of this kind in Ontario or in Canada'
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Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli and North Bay Mayor Al McDonald sit on a Stage Coach on the Western set of When Hope Calls. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

POWASSAN — It feels like you entered a time machine when you walk onto the set of the Hallmark TV series “When Hope Calls.”

The set depicts the early 1900s town of Brookfield. The media got a glimpse of the rustic "Wild West" town set, built literally in the middle of a secluded farm field in Powassan.   

“We are glad we had the time to do it because of the snowfall that we had this year. It was a little more than usual but we had about 1,000 carpenter days throughout the 12 weeks working on this, including a lot of northern Ontario carpenters who were trained by some experts in Toronto to build something like this,” stated David Anselmo, president of Sudbury's Hideaway Pictures.  

Hideaway Pictures received $3 million in provincial funding which was part of a larger funding announcement made by Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, about the investment of over $12.8 million at the Northern Ontario Film Studios western-themed location in Powassan. 

See: Fedeli announces $13m to support local filmmaking

Close to 100 people were on set working today, with Anselmo estimating 75 per cent of them being from this area. 

Anselmo hopes the series, which is a spin-off of the series “When Calls the Heart,” (which is shot in Vancouver) continues to be a success.  While the photos of the amazing western town are still being kept a secret, Anselmo says the word is already getting out about it.  

“We built this for our TV series, which we are hoping to have multiple seasons with, but there have been inquiries about filming here,” he said.  

“There are not a lot of sets of this kind in Ontario or in Canada so we are getting phone calls. I do believe it will attract more productions to the region because now we have a set that is very unique that was not here before.”