April 21, 2005

A hole named Brantford

I think most people who know me know that I am not the biggest fan of my hometown, Brantford (though I never deny being from there). And usually when it comes to talking about the city I have nothing but criticism for it and I could probably go on for hours about everything I think is wrong with it. However, I'm not going to do that here. Rather, I'm going to talk about one 'issue' (or so I've deemed it) and pass on a suggestion. During a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) I was having a good look at the Group of Seven (G7)collection. I was reading the biographies of some of the artists when I realized that Lawren Harris was born in Brantford. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it got me thinking about this topic. All the years I spent in Brantford and not once did I ever learn about, or hear for that matter, about this member of the G7 being from Brantford. Then I clued into the fact that it wasn't until Phil Hartman, popular SNL comedian, had died that I learned he was also from Brantford (I realize there's a huge difference between the two but it helps make my point). Growing up in Brantford I had only heard of the usual suspects; Wayne Gretzky and Alexander Graham Bell. What bothers me the most about all of this is that there are opportunities here for Brantford to develop it's Arts and Culture side - this is assuming it exists at all. While the city made a play to host an annual comedy festival in the honour of Phil Hartman after his passing, Brantford only did this when the spotlight was on them because of Hartman's death. This seems to be the norm for the city; only capitalize when being pushed. The city needs to be more forward looking and cherishing its famous people and history long before it only seems like opportunism at its worst or because they don't really have the choice but to do something, like it has with Gretzky or Bell. Brantford needs to celebrate itself more than it does. The city needs to realize there are reasons for it to be proud of its past people and history. Instead of spending $2 million on a tourist centre when there are no tourists the city could have spent the money on expanding its museum, or looking into the possibility of erecting an art gallery based around Harris or the G7 in general. They could have even included materials by Pauline Johnson or other local artists' works. Then the city could be justified in building a tourist centre. But this is what happens when the city has been plagued by mayors, over the last few decades, that don't have any real ideas. The city needs to understand there is so much more going for them, much of which centers around Wilfred Laurier University's Brantford Campus. They need to see past the casino and the blackhole which is their downtown and begin to look-forward with the past in their pocket. What the city needs is new blood and with it a new vision.

1 comment:

Rich said...

or a well-placed atomic bomb

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)