If TVO is broadcast in HD I believe BDUs are required to carry it in HD. That's true of other OTA channels. However, I don't believe they are required to offer it outside the region it serves. I find it odd the Bell won't offer TVO outside of Ontario, even as an optional pick and pay or theme pack channel. As for Bell not wanting to pay for TVO, all I can say is what a bunch of cheap turds. They want top dollar for their channels and force them on customers who often don't want them, so why shouldn't TVO be available to people who want it? It makes more sense than offering NTV to the rest of the country.
As for NTV, I found it useful before PVRs due to the time difference. Haven't watched it since.