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  #301  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2018, 10:04 PM
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But Mount Pearl is kind of like Westmount, just unwillingly. They would never consider themselves to be Townies (someone from St. John's), but are universally considered such by everyone else on the island, except Townies. The other suburban towns, though, definitely don't associate with Townie. But they wouldn't really consider themselves Baymen either. I think they're kind of denomyn-fluid - they'd have to use "I am from", not "I am a".
Mount Pearl is actually a real suburb in the true sense. It only existed because it's adjacent to St. John's, beginning as a summertime country getaway, all residential, but with the later addition of an industrial park; it's major defining feature seems to be "we're new and we're not St. John's". Mt. Pearl has no ghettos in the townie sense, but with enough inept urban planning it could still happen.
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  #302  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 12:12 AM
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Suburbs which were not really suburbs to begin with also have a stronger identity. Vancouver is full of these, a collection of independent small semi-rural centres, many geographically distinct to begin with, many as old as the city itself. Politically I think this works better than a highly centralized municipal government.
But Toronto's suburbs, like Brampton or Markham also had a pre-existing small rural town feel right there before being swallowed up by Toronto's massive suburbanization. I grew up in the inner suburbs in Toronto (North York) but still remember family members telling me about even not that long ago, like 40 and 50 years ago, places in York Region felt really disconnected from Toronto, and how places that are now malls and plazas were wheat fields or family farms or whatever. And places within the GTA's current sphere of influence felt still like "small town southern Ontario". Are Vancouver's suburbs that different?


Where do you draw the line between rural or semi-rural independent small town that had an existence before being swallowed up and has no independent identity left, vs. where only a small amount of pre-suburbanization identity persists? Very few suburbs are totally brought forth from uninhabited wilderness or places only native people lived on but not European settlers founding anything (or areas that early settlers didn't even live at all on, or at least construct some small village on, or farm on, or build a mill town around), at least for a lot of places that have at least a reasonably long history of settlement (centuries)?
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  #303  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 12:17 AM
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It's probably just atmosphere.

Georgestown was the first suburb of St. John's, in the 1800s. It never had a separate mayor and council, but it has always been distinct from the rest of St. John's and still is today. That reputation has changed over time, today it's hipster/vegan/artsy. But it's always been a distinct neighbourhood with proud residents. Everything in there is named Georgestown X (Bakery, Pub, Cafe etc.).

Meanwhile, Wedgewood Park was a separate town, one of the many separate towns in the East End that St. John's engulfed. It had its own separate mayor and council in living memory. I couldn't even tell you where the borders are, really. It's so completely absorbed into the general East End of St. John's, and save a few elderly stragglers I'm quite certain it has no separate identity from the rest of the area.

On paper, the opposite should be the case.
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  #304  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 1:23 AM
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Where do you draw the line between rural or semi-rural independent small town that had an existence before being swallowed up and has no independent identity left, vs. where only a small amount of pre-suburbanization identity persists? Very few suburbs are totally brought forth from uninhabited wilderness or places only native people lived on but not European settlers founding anything (or areas that early settlers didn't even live at all on, or at least construct some small village on, or farm on, or build a mill town around), at least for a lot of places that have at least a reasonably long history of settlement (centuries)?
Some suburbs had very strong identities long before they became suburbs. Those are the ones where a definite sense of place still exists. The form of governance, whether independent, or just a part of a larger whole goes a long way towards preserving or erasing an identity. For many suburban people, being part of a smaller municipality is preferential, as it gives more political control, and therefore developmental control, or at least the perception of it. I think there may be also a sweet spot of a kind in determining the ideal size of a municipality in relation to the surrounding populations and geography.
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  #305  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 1:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
It's probably just atmosphere.

Georgestown was the first suburb of St. John's, in the 1800s. It never had a separate mayor and council, but it has always been distinct from the rest of St. John's and still is today. That reputation has changed over time, today it's hipster/vegan/artsy. But it's always been a distinct neighbourhood with proud residents. Everything in there is named Georgestown X (Bakery, Pub, Cafe etc.).

Meanwhile, Wedgewood Park was a separate town, one of the many separate towns in the East End that St. John's engulfed. It had its own separate mayor and council in living memory. I couldn't even tell you where the borders are, really. It's so completely absorbed into the general East End of St. John's, and save a few elderly stragglers I'm quite certain it has no separate identity from the rest of the area.

On paper, the opposite should be the case.
That's a case of comparing a 1960s housing development which became a nice middle class suburban town of a sort for only 24 years (1967-1991) before being swallowed up, to Georgestown, an inner city turn of the century neighborhood with a strong identity (although it lacks a real commercial district). Both were not large enough to be separate municipalities with substantial commercial districts, and so both are not. Georgestown benefits from being a heritage area with some optimal locational advantages, recognizable boundaries, and considerable urban appeal. In a very different situation, Georgestown could have become a ghetto.
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  #306  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 9:53 AM
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In a very different situation, Georgestown could have become a ghetto.
Strange to think now. It probably nearly was. Mom said when she was growing up you couldn't give a house on Gower Street away, and now that's one of the most popular residential streets in the city.
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  #307  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2018, 12:41 AM
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People often have the perception that "smaller is better" in municipal politics, whether it is true or not, it gives the perception of more intuitive control over the environment. It's sometimes hard to argue that this is not the case, because when it comes to amalgamation the rationale is generally a purse tightening economic one. Suburbs which were not really suburbs to begin with also have a stronger identity. Vancouver is full of these, a collection of independent small semi-rural centres, many geographically distinct to begin with, many as old as the city itself. Politically I think this works better than a highly centralized municipal government.
It might be better for governance and political power, but I find the identity thing so annoying. Interactions like:

"Some people think Vancouver is a really boring city"
"They should see Coquitlam"

or the classic

"Can't wait to go back home to Vancouver"
"I thought you were from Richmond?"

Some of you are saying that the municipal identity isn't that common, but I've found the opposite. Yeah everyone says they're from Vancouver when asked about it in the UK, but at a local level people speak of Vancouver and Surrey as if it was no different from Ottawa and Edmonton.

I fully agree that different local geographies have different customs and cultures, so maybe I just find the "city" distinction annoying. I get that people from Surrey and Vancouver can have their own local quirks, but so can people from Kerrisdale and Killarney. To me, all these different geographies are just different neighbourhoods of a grand "Vancouver." Yeah slang can be different, but we all cheer for the Canucks, take the SkyTrain, have opinions on the housing crisis, etc.
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