Anyone over 35 will get the reference in the title. Anyone under 35, google it.
I heard the most wonderful story on Wednesday. I was talking with one of the original rainmakers that engineered Moncton’s transformation back in the late 1980s (names like Rideout, McKenna, Belliveau, Daigle, etc.) and he told me about a cold January morning when a bunch of these community leaders got together in downtown and let off a large bunch of balloons into the sky. In these balloons where little notes with “Greater Moncton: We’re OK” on them with a telephone number.
They got a call from as far away as Yarmouth confirming that “Greater Moncton was O.K.”.
Of course this is weird and wonderful at the same time but it does say something about where Moncton was at just 20 years ago.
I don’t have much of a creative mind but there is something in there for places like Miramichi that are also trying to deal with a serious structural shift in its economic base.
There are lessons from Moncton circa the late 1980s that need to be retold. Stories of a deliberate Mayor (Rideout). Stories of an engaged Premier. Stories of building economic development infrastructure (M.I.D and GMEC). Stories of community engagement (Symposium 2000, Creating Tomorrow Together, etc.).
The 20 anniversary of Symposium 2000 is coming up in May of this year. I hope that the local media does some retrospective for us. It is likely that close to half the people living in Greater Moncton today did not live here just 20 years ago so we need these stories to be retold. See Bill Belliveau’s comments on Symposium here.