Saturday, May 03, 2008

Good move

Fourteen years ago this summer, my wife and I moved from Midland to Ottawa. Money Sense magazine says it was a great decision. Midland, it turns out, is the worst city in Ontario to live, while Ottawa is the best city in all of Canada.
Now, Midland's not all that bad of a place, especially if you have money. There's about 30 miles of nice sand beaches in the area. Some of them are public. There's also some great boating in the area. It's also very close to the recreation areas of Muskoka and not far from Toronto (although too distant to conveniently commute, and it lacks decent public transit out of the region).
The Money Sense people did not take those things into account. If they had, Midland should have been able to beat Cornwall, one of the ugliest places I've seen in this country.
On the down side, summers there are short and can be wet. Winters are extremely snowy. It is the only region of the province without a university or community college. It has been dreadfully misgoverned and mismanaged, with collapsing infrastructure and relatively high taxes.
Most of the industry in the region is long-gone. The summer tourism season is brisk but far too short. There is no winter tourism.
The hospital facilities are dreadful and, for the most part, the medical community is inept. Major employers in the region are a psychiatric hospital and a super jail, which are not particularly delightful places to work and give you a fair idea of the cultural level of the local populace.
There are no decent newspapers, no writers of any note, and just a couple of artists. There is no decent concert venue, no good libraries, and just a couple of second-rate historiacl attractions. One is a silly representation of the old naval base at penetang (nothing happened there), the other is a reconstruction of Fort Ste. Marie, a 17th century Jesuit headquarters that dares not delve into 17th century Jesuit life or the rather gruesome fate of the place's more famous inhabitants. (You won't find, for instance, any mention of "ritualistic cannibalism".) Great place for kids!
Still, I'd love to spend my summers there again. But until some of the beach ownership issues and environmental problems are solved, I'll stick to the Gatineaus and the Eastern Townships.

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