08/23/2013 03:59 EDT | Updated 08/23/2013 03:59 EDT

Hard Rock Medical: Sudbury Sunday Night


TVO's first commissioned drama series, Hard Rock Medical, provides a fresh and entertaining look at the unique challenges of delivering healthcare in Northern Ontario. Hard Rock Medical follows the lives of eight medical students, their struggles to succeed, and the obstacles they face in adapting to practising rural medicine and living in the North. Patrick McKenna heads a Canadian ensemble cast in this series airing Sundays at 8 pm, from June 9 to August 25 and at

The views expressed in TVO's Hard Rock Medical blog series are solely the opinion of the cast and filmmakers.

Sudbury Sunday Night

After another long day of playing doctor -- acting like a doctor in TVO's new television series, Hard Rock Medical -- some of the cast, crew and I decided it would be nice to go out for a late night supper and drink to celebrate our various forms of "genius." But where could we go at ten o'clock on a Sunday night in Sudbury? Well it turns out, there are lots of choices, and all of them legal.

Local gypsy and fellow cast mate, Stef Paquette, insisted we favour the recently renovated, Crown Tavern. Now, I learned a lot about Sudbury during my two-month stay -- i.e. layer your clothes because you could experience all four seasons of weather by noon. Never ask if the "Big Nickel" is really made of nickel because people will tell you it is, but then pin a "dork" sticker to your back. But most importantly, I've learned that when a local tells you of a good place to party, you go.

So, fourteen of us stormed the doors of the Crown Tavern while the un-phased, lone bartender continued to pour drinks, take food orders and yell out song titles for the one man, guitar band to pound his way through. The party was in full swing.

I love Sudbury for its work ethic towards play. Yes, people work hard all week, but they put just as much effort into their free time. You can have a good time at a place like the Crown Tavern, hunt, fish, see movies, go to plays and museums. They really do like to have a good time and everyone is welcome.

Work and play, that's the Sudbury balancing act that I learned to bring to my character in Hard Rock Medical. Dr. Fraser Healy is a great doctor, but with demons and in the north, you get plenty of time to work on both.

Living in northern Ontario is a choice. Anyone can pack up and move away, but these people choose to stay and many have returned -- because they fit here. Just like the new mix of trees that are sprouting up from yester years' black rock, the people flourish in the environment because they accept and build on it. Now that's Canadian.

I was immediately drawn to being a part of Hard Rock Medical and to working with TVO, a people driven media organization showcasing its own backyard. I believe Canadian audiences when they say they want to see themselves represented on television and Hard Rock Medical is a show that really does that. A show about hard-working people of various ages, religions and sexes just trying to improve themselves in an environment that culls the weak. And they like to have a good time. Shouldn't we all?


Patrick McKenna in TVO's Hard Rock Medical