I've never been to Oshawa. About ten years ago, when I was looking to move out of Toronto, I thought about heading east. "Just don't go to Oshawa," my real estate agent warned, squinting at me like a raggedy old man in a B-list horror movie, staring up the hill at the spooky, deserted mansion at the top. "Nobody ever comes out..."
I learned that Oshawa was 'hollowed out' - the first time I'd heard that phrase - and not a place you'd live by choice. In the end I moved to Hamilton. While Hamilton as we know has its challenges, it seems that Oshawa is struggling all the more.
Oshawa was in the news yesterday for a decision to sell part of a neighbourhood park to a developer. In today's Star, Christopher Hume laments this decision and the long slow decline of this once-promising town:
Over the decades, Oshawa has made every mistake in the book. It's now little more than a hollowed-out downtown surrounded by sprawl...
The fact is that like GM, Oshawa has lost its ability to adapt, innovate, change and grow. Locked into a mentality of self-destruction, it has allowed itself to ossify. Its collective imagination, like its self-respect, has dried up.
When in doubt, it simply sells off a bit more land, adds another subdivision, and hopes for the best.
Like I say, I've never been to Oshawa. The difference for me is that, unlike Hamilton, I can't think of one single reason to go.
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