THE NEAR NORTH
IT GETS COLD at the Lakehead. But it’s an almost joyous kind of cold, for it brings the snow-mobiles whizzing out of people’s backyards and down the snow-clogged streets, as thick as bicycles in Amsterdam. Besides, four of the best ski slopes in Ontario are within 20 minutes of downtown, and every discount store stocks snowshoes. Winter is a matter of perception. You can either curse it, escape it or try to ignore it. At the Lakehead, people try to enjoy it.
This may be part of the reason why Port Arthur’s Mayor Saul Laskin is sold on the feasibility of the mid-Canada development corridor. The idea stands or falls, after all, on the proposition that people can live comfortably in mid-Canada. Laskin and 110,000 other Lakehead residents have been doing it for years.
This may come as news to southern Canada. The national media seem to have evolved a silent conspiracy to ensure that the fact of northwestern Ontario’s existence doesn’t leak to the outside world. There is probably no area of Canada more justifiably conscious of being ignored. During Centennial year, when the Canadian Government Travel Bureau distributed a “Come to Canada” brochure through the U.S., they included Kapuskasing and Moosonee on the map, but failed to mention Port Arthur. When MP Robert Andras last year suggested carving an 11th province out of northern Ontario and northern Quebec, no one in his riding saw fit to hoot him down; by now they’re used to Going It Alone in northwestern Ontario. Continue Reading →