Cornwall Ontario – Cornwall is a big enough city to have culture. Yes we have a lower income level, but that usually breeds art. It usually attracts artists who are always looking for less expensive places to practice their art too.
The problem is that there is no true appetite for culture in this community. I say that as someone who has valiantly tried to make some things happen and this weekends Hometown Hockey rams that point home.
Hometown Hockey essentially is a free corporate event put on by Rogers. It’s FREE. There is no real financial barrier. One of the complaints about Lift Off, our last real cultural event, was the admission price which honestly was pretty modest.
But free? If the public won’t come out for free there’s simply not much hope. The question is why? Are people living their cultural lives on their phones? Are they travelling to other communities? Is the Cornwall brand so beyond hope that people that live here are more prejudiced against things Cornwall than those from outside of the community?
Is it simply a lack of community leadership and the vacuum of support to build audiences locally? Is it the petty ignorant bully culture that’s far too apparent? Is it all of these factors?
The #2 paper in this town just put out a letter to the editor talking about Hometown Hockey this weekend. Again, it was a poorly promoted event. For example if Rogers had signed up with this newspaper we would’ve done several video and profile pieces in advance. You have to get people into what’s coming and try and get them excited about events.
From the LTE:
There was a very small crowd at the free Royals alumni game. The entrance fee was by donation and still, they were lucky if there were 400 people there.
Free, or donation and that’s all the people that showed up from a city of about 40,000 with a catchment area of about 125K. Again, you can’t blame it all on the utterly poor job of promotion that Rogers did.
I’ve run a few events in this city as well as curated a few at our now closed Public Art Gallery, (yes Hugo Rodrigues, TAG Cornwall was a public art gallery, a charity of 36 years that the editor of a Post Media newspaper wrote an editorial on it not being one. Believe it or not!)
For this newspapers 5th Anniversary we had a free movie, singer, and comedian at the Port Theater. We even gave away free popcorn. The event saw less than 200 people show up.
Our Town Hall meeting which had the recovering Canadian Comedic Legend Mike MacDonald show up, who sadly just passed away, drew less than 100. Again, a free event.
I managed to get another icon, AISLIN, to do a show at TAG Cornwall which again, should have been better supported.
The problem is that people play politics in this town which always brings us down. These people should not be in the positions of power or on the public purse in this scribblers opinion. For example, Bob Peters, who’s paid by our tax dollars to promote this city culturally and economically had bumped into me at the former JL Computers which was next to TAG. I offered him a sneak preview of the Aislin show which he jumped on. While viewing some of the most historic comic strips ever produced in Canada he mentioned a rare one he once saw.
I actually was able to get it printed and framed for the show which he was expected to attend. Instead he, his wife, and Sue Stewart sat at Truffles across the street and did not attend the show. Such pettiness is beyond reproach.
The print, an extremely rare Bobby Orr image, ended up in a lawyers office when the gallery was being liquidated.
As I’ve always said that I’d rather be a small part of something awesome than a big turd. Sadly that’s something that many in this community have never embraced. The question is how bad will things get before some learn or some fresh blood moves in? How empty will our downtown core become before we make things happen or is Cornwall simply waiting for outsiders to do it for them?
Frankly the only thing holding this community back is the will to want better and to work together.
Until people stop the juvenile petty games things won’t change. Is there any reason to be pumping nearly $200K into tourism when there’s nothing really here to draw tourists?
It’s time for people to start working together and it’s time for those that refuse to, to be sent to bed without din din.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.