New Westminster’s Glad Game

 (C) Walt Disney Studios, 1960
(C) Walt Disney Studios, 1960

Remember that Game that the beloved movie and book classic Pollyanna used to play, the game that became her namesake in any discussion perceived to be a little too sweet and idealistic?

“Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about — no matter what ’twas.” – Pollyanna, from bestselling 1916 children’s novel by Eleanor H. Porter.

The recent post on T2F gave me pause because of it’s several references to New West’s losses, including the reinactment of a debate with Governor James Douglas on the decision to move BC’s Capital to Victoria,  and Counsellor MacEvoy’s book on the loss of St. Mary’s Hospital. It struck me that we in New West seem to define ourselves exclusively by what we’ve lost and what has failed: St. Mary’s, our Capital status, our history, our Quay, our WHL Hockey Franchise, the Patullo Bridge, and on and on. Maybe we should all support our fantastic community groups at this volunteer fair in order to work more on defining ourselves by the fantastic parts of being a “New Westie” that we have:

  • The Orange Room (yay!)
  • Five Skytrain Stations (a mixed blessing, I know)
  • Great festivals: Hyack, May Day and FraserFest (do we still have the oldest parade in western Canada?)
  • the salmonbellies, our major and minor lacrosse team, celebrating their 120th anniversary.
  • Several beautiful Parks, including Queen’s Park, Moody and Grimston.
  • Great Parks and Rec facilities
  • a small-town feel
  • Beautiful heritage neighbourhoods including Queen’s Park, Sapperton, “Brow of the Hill” and others.
  • Rich ethnic diversity and 150 years of history
  • …aaaand its very own blog, TenthtotheFraser (not to toot our own horn or anything.)

One might say that an essential of good marketing is an ability to see your subject like Pollyanna would: to see the best of it in every situation. For we as citizens (and honorary citizens) of New West, we are the best marketing that New West could ever have, but not if we dwell on the losses. Sure we joke about our inferiority complex, our first-capital frustration, and not to detract from newly-minted Counsellor MacEvoy’s new publication, but ultimately, if that’s all anyone ever sees, New Westminster might be seen a city whose prime has passed – which is clearly not the case! (note that here I’m talking about we = new west citizens, not specifically T2F)

So tell someone what you like most about New West today – banish the words “capital,” “St. Mary’s” and “The Quay” from your lips (for awhile at least) and go volunteer to be part of the city we have such affection for!*

*While I’m thinking about it, we should write a book about the greatness of New West – stories, heritage, demographics, local profiles and photos? I know there is already a Royal City book focusing on the stately homes, but wouldn’t it be nice to have something like The (greater) Vancouver Book for our fair (wee) city?

6 Replies to “New Westminster’s Glad Game”

  1. I think we do represent a mix here, from celebrating the best restaurants to championing our parks and sharing our love of the city. I'm all for cheering on New West, but I also believe that the story of New West is as much about loss and disappointment as hope and renewal. We are a sort of Greek chorus for New Westminster, providing colour commentary shaded to match the mood of the moment.

    Actually after writing that last bit, I realized how apropos it is. Here's Wikipedia's description of the role of the Greek Chorus: "Plays of the ancient Greek theatre always included a chorus that offered a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance. The Greek chorus comments on themes, and shows how an ideal audience might react to the drama … In many of these plays, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their fears or secrets. The chorus often provided other characters with the insight they need."

    Sounds like TTF, no?!

  2. There's nothing wrong with a little boosterism. How about the recent item in The Record that there were no murders in New Westminster in 2008. MacLeans (boo, hiss central canadian media) had some faulty study in 2008 that claimed we were one of the most dangerous cities in Canada. Who's looking dumb now?

  3. I should note that I was more referring to the citizens of New West and not exactly the authors of T2F.

    I like Briana's description of the Greek Chorus of T2F. That's really what we are… Reflecting and understanding New West people and ideas for all to read… I just think that New Westies do a lot of reflecting their losses and not so much reflecting of that incredibly community-minded, great little city we have.

    Surely we don't want an out-and-out love-in where people promote the "good stuff" in exclusion of reality, but i was thinking that we really do have this wistful worry about the loss of things that represent our 'community-ness.'

  4. Under festivals I need to add, Sapperton Day Street Festival.

    Under parks I need to plug:

    1. Sapperton Park (which used to serve as a landing pad for the air ambulance) and is the home of the Sapperton Rovers

    2. Hume Park, home to New Westminster's first dog park

    3. Sapperton Landing – I love walking down there with our daughter at various times of the year and noticing the changes of the seasons and the various birds.

  5. Waferboard: I missed that article in the Record. That darn paperboy!

    Neil: I've never been to Sapperton Landing. It sounds like a nice place! Sapperton's a cute little part of the city. I think it's really starting to come into its own.

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