Friday, March 27, 2009

Winnipeggers It's Time to Believe in Winnipeg

No matter if I'm talking with Winnipeg business owners, members of government or friends and family - Winnipeggers, for some reason, are their own worst enemies. Despite all the good this city offers to both business and families, Winnipeggers still believe our city is second-class to the rest of the nation. At least before people would run down Saskatchewan to make themselves feel better about living in Winnipeg; but even that's changed with the economic success that province has been experiencing. Even more than their success, what really makes the difference is the people.

Just look at Rider fans for example. No matter the importance of the game or time of year, they fill their stadium. They are known across the CFL as the most loyal fans, hence the term "Rider Pride." Blue Bombers fans?... we struggle to fill the stadium when we host a playoff game. We'd rather sit at home and watch the game while we complain about how awful the weather is outside.

For all these negative reasons and more, it was high time that the city started targeting the message of how good it is to live in Winnipeg. This is why it was encouraging to read that the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce plan to launch a new campaign to get the city to feel good about itself. Too often all marketing efforts are focused at drawing interest from tourism and relocation outside of Manitoba - but what's the point if when people get here we give them every reason to leave?

The "We Believe in Winnipeg" campaign will see a series of stories run over several months about Winnipeg successes, beginning on April 12. Says Dave Angus, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President, "The effort is not a marketing campaign. Winnipeg needs to get over its inferiority complex and do a better job of trumpeting its success stories."

Let's hope this doesn't fall on deaf ears. I know I go blue in the face sometimes defending what a good way of life we have here. Just like when you start to feel sick, if you convince yourself that the next day you're taking off work, and "whoa my head feels weird," you can literally will yourself into a state of illness. I think we've done the exact same thing in how we perceive our city. If you believe it sucks - it sucks.

Next time you feel the need to complain about the weather or the potholes or the mosquitoes, take a deep breath, punch yourself in the stomach, poke yourself in the eye - do something to condition yourself to instead focus on; the friendly people, the arts & cultural scene, clean air, whatever. And, like my Mom used to say "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." That or move. I hear space is freeing up in Ontario and Alberta.