Kevin McGarry has won over Hearties as Nathan Grant on When Calls the Heart. The Canadian actor joined the cast of the Hallmark Channel series in season 6 in 2019, taking on the role of Hope Valley’s newest Mountie. Since then, he’s become an integral part of the town community and the show. He’s also caught the eye of Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow), though he has some competition for her affections in the form of saloon owner Lucas Bouchard (Chris McNally).
Kevin McGarry didn’t know ‘When Calls the Heart’ had such enthusiastic fans
McGarry’s now been on When Calls the Heart for two seasons, and he has a good idea of how loyal and passionate the show’s fans — dubbed Hearties — are. But he recently told Canada’s Super Channel that he didn’t exactly realize what he was getting into when he joined the cast.
McGarry had previously appeared in the 2015 Hallmark movie Signed, Sealed, Delivered: From Paris with Love. But that didn’t prepare him for what he’d experience on When Calls the Heart.
“At that point I was unaware of the Hallmark fan base, little did I know a few years later I would be subjected to it in a big way!” he said.
McGarry quickly realized he was stepping into something big
Though McGarry wasn’t familiar with Hallmarkies or Hearties before joining the show, it didn’t take him long to realize what he’d gotten himself into.
The actor said he was “not ready for any of it,” when he stepped into the Nathan Grant role. “Nor did I know what the Hearties were just put through,” he added. “I was aware of the show but didn’t sit down and watch until I was cast. When I discovered the 5-year romance Jack and Elizabeth had — and then the devastating end — I knew I was coming on to something big, and everyone was working extra hard to keep the ship aﬂoat.”
Hearties have warmed to McGarry
Grant certainly had big shoes to fill on When Calls the Heart. He wasn’t exactly replacing Daniel Lissing, who played Elizabeth’s husband Jack Thornton until the character died unexpectedly at the end of season 5. But with both actors portraying Mounties and with Nathan gradually developing feelings for Elizabeth, it was hard not to feel like he was taking Jack’s place. That could have turned off some fans of the show, but instead, they warmed to McGarry and his shy, quiet character.
Now, many Hearties are firmly behind a Nathan-Elizabeth romance. Those on Team Nathan think the widowed schoolteacher belongs with another Mountie.
“When Jack left I didn’t think anyone could beat that smile but in came this handsome Mountie and finally smiled. wow – just melted my heart,” one fan commented on Instagram.
“I like her with the Mountie,” another wrote.
Many viewers are hoping for a happy ending for Nathan and Elizabeth. But another contingent hopes she finds love with Lucas. As of the end of season 7, it’s not clear who Elizabeth really prefers, though there were some encouraging signs in the season finale that point in Nathan’s favor. Fans will simply have to wait until When Calls the Heart Season 8 airs in 2021 to see how this love triangle plays out.