If you look through the history of the Waterloo Region you’d quickly realize that this place has a gift. For over a century it has attracted farmers, crafts people, industrialists, academics and tech startups to its streets and fields. Following the decline of the manufacturing sector and the automotive nosedive, the Waterloo Region has redefined its image with novel ideas through the old spaces and given new life to the community. With the sense of community, comes a sense of unity. The Creative Capital of Canada movement has taken a grassroots approach to create a network of support systems and to build a platform to celebrate the creativity that flows through this great region.
Justin Frenette and Erin Martin, Co-Founders of Him & Her – a creative agency based out of Kitchener, first got involved with the CCOC movement through conversations with fellow community members on how the region represents itself. “We felt that with such a collaborative and hardworking community, we could be better than ‘good enough’ with regards to how we talk about ourselves and support each other”, mentioned Frenette. Using terms like “Quantum Valley” or “Silicon Valley” of the North do not describe the breadth of creativity and success in the region. Frenette further explained that, “the next generation should feel proud, inspired and capable of changing the world from right here in the Waterloo Region”.
Although the movement has a common name, the goals of the CCOC can differ from person to person. The main purpose of the movement is to create a unifying name for the region other than “a city about an hour west of Toronto” or a name that caters to only one industry. By creating a unifying name, the movement gives community members a centralized platform to share their successes. There are an abundance of stories found on the CCOC website, however, one of the standout stories for Frenette is the first implementation of the watershed. Founded in 1934, the Grand River Conservation Authority was the first watershed management agency in Canada and the methods that saved the Grand River are now being used nation-wide. This story exemplifies the resilience, collaboration and problem solving that is present within the region.
The movement has seen a great deal of success over the last year and it is important to continue to look forward and carry the momentum. The CCOC are hosting their first ambassador meeting to kick off 2020 and to review what has been happening over the past year, as well as the monthly information sessions to follow. Interested parties in attending the ambassador meeting can register HERE and can join the monthly info sessions by signing up HERE.
Checkout the website to learn more about the movement, see stories from the past and the community and submit your own story. You can also join the local Slack Channel through the CCOC website and follow, like and share the @creativecapitalofcanada content.
“We ask that each of us takes a moment to realize how creative we truly are and to think about what you can achieve from right here in the region and what you can pass on to our next generation to inspire them. Let’s change the world from home!” – Justin Frenette, Co-Founder Him & Her.