Thunder Bay is as big as our community is willing to dream

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Stats MapTHUNDER BAY – On the Internet, Thunder Bay is as big as our community is willing to dream. Our creative city can reach far further than our geographic boundaries. The artists, writers, videographers, film-makers, students, and business people have all, through technology, continued to put Thunder Bay on the world map.

Part of that can be demonstrated by how many people from our city have left to make their mark on the world. Some could be demonstrated by how far and wide people from our community reach out from our city to make a difference. Take for example The Global Conscience Circle, a loose affiliation of charitable groups which work to help make a better world. Many of the unneeded items from schools which have closed in our city have, through the efforts of the GCC, found their way to Africa, or Latin America to countries where those materials are needed.

Lakehead University, and Confederation College are part of Thunder Bay, and Northwestern Ontario’s global reach as well. Researchers, scholars and students engage the world.

Through music, film and video, talented people from our community are reaching out across our region, and around the world. That is the power of technology. Through Youtube, Facebook, and enhanced global communications, the old-fashioned ideas that Thunder Bay, or Northwestern Ontario is isolated is as out of date as an eight-track tape player. Today in mere moments, information travels world-wide. One could look at the simple steps that local film-maker Paul Morralee has taken in the establishment of a video and film connection between Thunder Bay and Monterrey Mexico as an example of how the determination and dedication of an individual can make a real difference.

Embracing the power of global communications is key to our future. It is a concept that business, and governments sometimes appear to lag behind the arts community. Artists often operate on small budgets, and they are by that reality, forced to improvise. Governments tend to operate in far cozier circumstances. Business may tend to keep to what worked in the past, and brought them success. Politicians tend to do the same. Perhaps because the people who tend to vote in all the elections are older, that supports the past as opposed to the future? I digress.

Embracing change is a key to the future. It is an area where as a community, we either do that, or in the global economy, we are choosing a path toward continual decline.

It is why research grants to Lakehead University are so critical to Thunder Bay. “Research in the social sciences and humanities is central to helping us craft solutions for challenging societal problems. Academic performance, community-based environmental management solutions, and interpersonal relationships are some of the areas that Lakehead scholars have addressed,” shares Lakehead President Brian Stevenson. “The SSHRC grants help bring researchers from different disciplines together to share perspectives and new ideas that improve our collective understanding of complex issues.”

Online, Thunder Bay captures a great deal of interest from around the world. On NetNewsledger.com for example on an average day there are visitors from around the world, in addition to the thousands of readers in our own region. In the map of the world, there is a snap-shot of the visitors to this website on October 13, 2011. Each red marker represents a community where a visitor, or visitors came to NNL. The reach is global.

The other area of critical importance for Thunder Bay are how communications across the North are growing. As high-speed Internet continues to grow across the region, the remote northern communities and First Nations communities where so many young people come from who are in our city to further their education, the news and information – and more importantly the impressions of our city, are fully shared across the region.

There are many stories in our community, many never make it to the traditional media. They are making it to the Internet and to new media outlets, and via social media to an even wider audience.

We are living in a brave new world, it is up to all of us to embrace it.

James Murray
Chief Content Officer