Written by: Marc Laferriere (@MarcLaferriere)
Publication Date: October 1, 2014

We live in a relatively small community. The riding of Brantford-Brant is not much bigger or smaller in population than other ridings, especially those nearby. And yet when it comes to many ridings in the Greater Toronto, Greater Hamilton or Greater Waterloo regions we actually have an abundance of local media.

Look at it this way; the riding of Ancaster-Flamborough-Dundas-Westdale (AFDW) is mostly covered by The Hamilton Spectator when it comes to newspapers. That riding doesn’t have their own radio stations and their own television stations. KW has the Record and they tend to cover a fairly large region.

Here in Brantford-Brant we get the best of all worlds. We’re covered by The Spectator at times, CHCH, CBC Hamilton & Kitchener and CTV Kitchener but we also have our own Rogers TV station, multiple radio stations and at least 8 regular print publications. Now at least 9 with this debut edition of BScene. More on that in a minute.

There was a study published in 2010 by the Centre For The Study of Living Standards called “Does Money Matter? Determining The Happiness of Canadians”. In the report it detailed Brantford as the 2nd happiest of Canada’s 33 Census Metropolitan Areas. Just to give you some idea of context; on a scale of 1 to 5 we scored a 4.36 while Toronto scored lowest at 4.15.

93.48% of us from Brantford reported that we were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with life here. More interesting is that on most of the indicators we scored below or at the Canadian average. Why then are we so happy?

Is it because we don’t have problems here? Far from it – like other cities we have our issues with crime, money, infrastructure, employment figures and more.

Maybe it’s all the wonderful students we have? Nope, on that factor we’re actually below the Canadian average. Is it our perceived mental and physical health? Uh-uh, we actually ranked that lower than average too.

Ok, lets see if it is stress levels. Actually we seem to have higher stress levels than the Canadian average.

What can it be then? What could be a factor that makes Brantford of all places the second happiest metropolitan census area in the country?

One of the reasons was that when it came to a sense of belonging to our local community – we were well above the national average there. The only other positive thing we scored higher in was our proportion of married and common law partnerships. Since this isn’t a love column I will stick to the idea of belonging – though, for the record (and in case my much better half is reading this) I am loving being newly married myself.

Ok, back to the topic at hand. One of the reasons I surmise that we more connected here is because of all of our local media. I know from my involvement with The Brant Advocate that local media makes a difference in the lives of local people.

Local media connects us, helps us hear our own stories, lets us know the positive things that are going on and also lets us work together on the negative things too. We share our narratives in this community, perhaps that is something that has stuck here more than many places due to our close proximity to the 2 reserves that are a vital part of our riding.

In Brantford you belong more than other places and local media takes a huge part in that. A small area with so many opportunities to connect through the sharing of stories is a rare thing.

It’s part of why I am so happy that Richard and Jason are starting this new venture with BScene. They were always allies to The Brant Advocate – and I can’t wait to invite them onto Advocate Television when the time is right to talk about their hopes and dreams for BScene.

BScene isn’t The Brant Advocate and vice versa. Months ago when Richard and Jason sat with me to talk about my experience and their desire to fill a whole left by the ceasing of the Brant Advocate’s print edition I knew they would make it a unique experience. It will be and needs to be its own thing, with its own flavours but I am really excited to see where it goes and to participate in any way I can.

Richard and Jason are in for a ride, some bumps are sure to come along but there is nothing like starting a publication in a community like ours. Thanks for sharing the narrative, welcome to a proud storytelling tradition that goes back to the founding of this community and kudos on this first edition. Well done gents! Who dares wins.

Jason FreezeBrantBrantfordBSceneCommunityBrant,Brantford,BScene,media,print,radio,The Advocate
Written by: Marc Laferriere (@MarcLaferriere) Publication Date: October 1, 2014 We live in a relatively small community. The riding of Brantford-Brant is not much bigger or smaller in population than other ridings, especially those nearby. And yet when it comes to many ridings in the Greater Toronto, Greater Hamilton or...