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Cheer for your neighbour!

Dear Editor:
Last night as I pulled into a snow-covered hotel parking lot to rest after another business trip in Northwestern Ontario, I was reminded of the tenacity and will of Northerners.
Given that my current job, volunteer and municipal councillor activities require regional travel, I have had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. What I continue to discover are people, more similar than different in their desires, goals and dreams, working hard and diligently to improve life in their towns and cities. In spite of ongoing adversity and challenges, people in Northwestern Ontario maintain a let’s-forge-ahead attitude. It is an attitude of which we can all be proud.
While not meant to be an exhaustive or complete list of the let’s-forge-ahead communities, I have had the distinct pleasure to watch communities like Nipigon embracing the Paddle-to-the-Sea theme in a downtown revitalization plan, Emo exploring innovative waste handling options with a biomass waste disposal initiative and Atikokan (yes, this is my home town, but also a let’s-forge-ahead community and worthy of mention!) pushing ahead with a canoe heritage centre based on Atikokan’s declaration that it is the Canoeing Capital of Canada. What these and other northern communities have in common is one thing: people who believe in their communities and are willing to back up their beliefs and expend effort to move steadily and steadfastly towards their goals and dreams.
As we forge ahead in our individual towns and cities, it is important now and then to take off our parochial town hats, step back, and cheer one another on when we do well or reach a significant goal. The ongoing Northern Ontario Business Awards and Annual Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards are excellent public acknowledgements that highlight our many achievements. Let’s support them wholeheartedly! Thunder Bay was recently awarded a marketing award of excellence from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario - let them know that, as a Northerner, you are proud of the work that led to the award. In your own communities, take time to celebrate as your community holds its own unique tributes in honour of sports, cultural, volunteer, economic or any other community development success. As we keep our eyes focused on future opportunities for growth and development, bear in mind it is the collective efforts of all Northerners that will make Northwestern Ontario a great place to live and work.
So, tonight as I drift off to sleep in yet another hotel room, I am reassured that in each of our communities, we do our best to define our futures, learn from our past and forge ahead for the betterment of Northern Ontario. Keep forging ahead!
Cathe Hoszowski