Thursday, August 02, 2012

Creative Class Fleeing Toronto

For talent migration, Rust Belt Chic is more important than Creative Class Chic. Agglomeration is pushing artists out of cities such as Toronto for funky Flat World destinations such as Hamilton, Ontario. My favorite anecdote in this CBC story:

Lisa Pijuan-Nomura finds the same thing. A multi-disciplinary artist, she is a storyteller, dancer and puppeteer who also creates and performs one-woman shows.

Pijuan-Nomura moved here from Toronto in January and finds the creative energy flows in Hamilton. She has started a new performance series called The Quarterly at The Pearl Company, and her company, Girl Can Create, has a studio in Hotel Hamilton.

Pijuan-Nomura lived in Toronto for 22 years. But when she had a baby two years ago, she started to feel stifled.

“I sort of came to the point of feeling that things were very saturated,” she said. “It felt like physically there wasn't a lot of space. Whether or not that was true or if it was me personally, I felt like I needed more space.”

At first, her friends were skeptical. Like Pijuan-Nomura, they only knew what they saw when they drove over the Burlington Skyway. She didn't realize the architecture and rich artistic scene that lay behind a single glimpse from the highway. When she visited last August, for her second visit ever, she saw the possibilities.

“Since I've moved here, I know seven or eight people who have moved,” she said.

Hamilton, the place, is a muse. It fosters creativity. For the artists in the above article, Toronto stifled development. The Innovation Economy is beginning to converge.

The main barrier for Pijuan-Nomura's migration was intimate knowledge of Hamilton. The "single glimpse from the highway" did not betray the wonderful Rust Belt Chic assets to be found there. Mesofacts continue to dog shrinking cities. But there's a dramatic shift lurking below the moribund population numbers. The urban pioneers have already discovered these diamonds in the slag heap. The flow will get bigger each year as the word gets out. If you were too late for Pittsburgh, Detroit will be available for some time to come.

1 comment:

aka Raindrummer said...

So true.
Our tech oasis in rural Canada has been training high-tech specialists in Geomatics for over 25 years. What do we have to show for it? Stronger companies in California, Texas and Ontario. Pitiful investment is returned back to our region from those that benefit elsewhere.