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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Identity crisis

Just so you don't feel so bad --  Fort Wayne, as the second-largest city in Indiana, a place with no special geographic or cultural feature, is not alone in feeling insecure and in need of a special "brand" to sell itself. The largest city in Canada, with more than 2.5 million people, has an inferiority complex, too:

Others were whimsical: Why, asked one participant, is Toronto afraid to market itself as a great place to come in the winter?

Some participants liked bidding for special events such as the Olympics; others said that after two failed Olympic bids it's time to put that dream to rest.

Some liked the idea of promoting Toronto's ranking as a financial or cultural centre; one skeptical participant noted that a wide-ranging ranking of U.S. cities once put Buffalo as America's top city because it was mediocre at everything and last-place in nothing.

While Clark was there to listen, he wasn't afraid to offer advice.

To market itself, he said in an interview, Toronto needs a core identity that everyone understands, from CEOs to taxi drivers.

That's right, the expert said what Toronto needed was a "core identity" -- haven't heard that too much, have we? I don't think you can invent one, or make a snappy slogan substitute for one. For every great slogan (what happens in Las Vegas, etc.), there are a dozen flops like, well, Fort Wayne's Room for Dreams and "The City Beautiful" (which Orlando and Coral Gables fought over a couple of years ago.


tim zank
Mon, 01/26/2009 - 12:28pm

I would suggest for Toronto, "Home To The Friendliest Homeless People In The World". It's a beautiful city, gorgeous buildings etc, but I found it curious I stepped over a homeless guy damn near every single block. They were friendly as hell.