Big City Blues

With a single thought, Anne Jarvis in a column published in the Windsor Star on June 16, definitely defiantly defined Windsor’s greatest misnomer. In a report on the bike crowd’s hated Zigzag, a plan to divert bicycles away from the pleasant retailers lining Pillette Village and Olde Riverside on Wyandotte Street East, she hit the jackpot.

Jarvis reasoned that those against bike lanes are people who, “… don’t like the urban vibe, even though you live in a large city.”

Right there is the problem. Windsor is no large city.

Au contraire. It is a small city largely being held back by Jarvis and others; the usual boastful suspects. Somehow they think the encampment on the south side of the Detroit River is a giant of a metropolis.

Those who think it can do better talk incessantly of its inferiority complex. It was something that seemed to irk former mayor Eddie Francis to no end. He seemed unable to enjoy the delights of a parochial city with the attitude of a small town.

So, Francis went on a Quixotesque quest of sorts, an expensive one at that, to prove his city is not the location of the world’s anus. That was an accusation directed at the city, or some other Canadian municipality named Windsor, by a satirical fake news provider, who now works the night shift on an American television network.

During his reign of silly errors, Francis seemed to spare no costs in his vain attempt to gloss over the city’s defects rather than try to repair them. Its roads are a good example of the folly of his approach.

There was even an ill-fated trip to South Korea to convince its citizens to forget wonder-of-the-world Niagara Falls and come to Windsor instead. The South Koreans seemed to know instinctively what to do.

It is over six months since a troupe of mostly mediocre swimmers came to Windsor, at our expense, to swim in a mobile pool in a hockey arena and pretend they had a good time. And why not? It was all expenses paid.

Windsor’s hosting of this singularly unimportant event was supposed to leapfrog it over the world’s more worldly cities. Put it on the map, so to speak.

The whole thing fizzled.

For Windsor to be a better city it needs people like Jarvis to stop the pretense and work to build an exceedingly nice small city. The goal should be to make Windsor truly attractive for a city of its size. If it can, it will become a great city.

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About the Author

Robert Tuomi

After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields.

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