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Ontario's three "artsiest" communities.

8091 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  thryve
I posted this on SSP a while back, but I don't think I posted it on here yet -- so what the heck!

I thought this was interesting, and of course it's especially so to me personally, since I happen to live in one of the selected communities! (although I wasn't at all surprised by North Bay's placement)
The TV Ontario program "Studio 2" ran a contest last summer called "Ontario's most talented town" and 55 communities submitted entries. They then announced and profiled the winning communities on the program, which are:

1. Bancroft
2. Parry Sound
3. North Bay

from the tvo site:

Beautiful Bancroft is the first-place winner in TVOntario’s Talented Town Contest. Parry Sound came in second and North Bay third. The contest was adjudicated by Studio 2 senior arts producer Judy Brake, Ontario historian Ron Brown, and artist Rob O’Flanagan. This year’s competition drew nearly 150 entries from 55 communities from across province.

Judy Brake explains the judges’ criteria: “Lots of communities have a vibrant summer scene with festivals, but we looked at places that had something really interesting going on all year.” Here’s what the judges had to say about the winners:

Rob O’Flanagan: My first exposure to Bancroft's talent made me want to move to the town for a transfusion of creative energy. This place has the kind of artistic spirit you hope and dream exists somewhere, anywhere. It's a close-knit community with artists of all kinds coming out of the woodwork.
Ron Brown: Bancroft is widely known as the mineral capital of the world. But its arts scene is a real diamond in the rough. Here we have a small town, only a few thousand souls, which got its start as a remote logging town tucked deep in the hills of north Hastings. But it was those same hills that began to attract artists, weavers, and even face painters, and have turned the town into an enthusiastic arts colony. It was clear to us that Bancroft's arts community is a self-nurturing grassroots movement, and that is why it won.

Judy Brake, quoting a Parry Sound submission: “Call a taxi and you'll find a novelist. Chat up a waitress and you'll discover an oil painter. Sit in the Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts and you'll hear a resident classical or jazz pianist, chorister, or thespian.”
Ron Brown: Like Bancroft, the entries from this Georgian Bay port showed that the place is generating its own arts scene. While widely known for its Festival of the Sound, Parry Sound has attracted a wide range of artists. Because historical attractions are my thing, and I love railways, the opening of an art gallery in the old CPR station would have to rank as my favourite initiative in this hillside town.

Rob O’Flanagan: North Bay is a small city but it has the character of a small town. There is an unusually high concentration of gifted artists, writers and performers living and working in the community, and a network of galleries and schools that shine the spotlight on the arts. There must be something in the water or in the air, but North Bay just has something seriously creative going for it.
Ron Brown: Here too we have an unlikely winner. From its beginnings as a railway town on the shores of Lake Nipissing, North Bay has become the capital of northeastern Ontario in more ways than one. Writers, musicians and artists have turned this once frankly dull town into northeastern Ontario's leading arts town. Canadore College has developed a major arts program, and having one of the world's best-known cartoonists (Lynn Johnson, For Better or for Worse) has certainly given the place an artistic sheen and the attention that just a few years ago wouldn't have seemed possible.
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How about Wychwood Park in Toronto? It was an artists' community, and I think it still is.
Interesting, all three towns come from up north... wonder if Stratford was on that list. Stratford's a pretty artsy community itself.
I think it was arts as a general category. Sure Stratford could beat North Bay anyday with its award winning talent in just the theatre category alone.

Rob O’Flanagan was reporting from the Sudbury Star, and quite frankly he was somewhat condescending over North Bay. Sudbury has always had this thing looking down on us, which in reality they shouldnt. We have a more stable economy that is diversified and have trees!
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I didn't find Rob O'Flanagan to be condesending at all -- during the program he referred to North Bay's arts community as "very sophisticated for a city of it's size" (more-so than the other two communities) and pointed out that North Bay's artists produce very "high-end stuff". He actually seemed to be a big fan of North Bay and it's arts community.

They did mention places like Stratford and Niagara-On-The-Lake, but they said that those two communities import too much of their talent and that they lack that year-round "grassroots" sort of artistic atmosphere that the three winning communities have.

There were a few honorable mentions they also talked about, namely Owen Sound, Perth, and Macdonald's Corners.

I don't think Sudbury looks down on North Bay so much as secretly envies it -- and therefore puts it down -- because deep down they know that North Bay is way cooler than Sudbury!
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Well I somehow sensed it. He added that not alot of people would think of North Bay as an arts community, and that he laughed when our name was called. Perhaps I am overprotective, beacuse I dont even think we are all that artsy and I've lived here my whole life.
Hmmm... It's strange that you would feel that way, because i've lived here for most of my life and North Bay's artsy nature has always been very apparent to me. Most of my friends and aquaintances are involved in the local arts community.

I'm quite sure that Rob O'Flannagan laughed because he was happy that a community he was familiar with was selected. After all, he was one of the judges.

It is true that a lot of people would never guess that North Bay is such an artistic city, because to put it bluntly, most people (outside of Northeastern Ontario) don't know squat about North Bay period.
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Guelph is quite artsy... wellll artistic and yuppie-hippy feeling...
Congrats to the three towns/cities... very cool!
I think Toronto is way up there...not because it's a massive city (well that does help) but because it's just very artsy.
Shit, even my city is...
I've never heard of any 'artsy' places strictly in Canada, other than the three big cities.
1.) guelph
2.) stratford
3.) bancroft

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