I’ve come to learn a lot about my city over the past two months. The most positive aspects, I learned today.

The elections saw many headlines about the main concerns for Surrey, be it crime, transportation or debt. I wrote some of these myself, and a lot of them focused on change. Whether it was how much the city has changed under a decade of Dianne Watts, or how much needs to change under her successor: the stories coming out of B.C.’s second-largest city were not particularly positive, and the general attitude among voter and voted was a desire to see difference.

This morning, I found myself at the Newton Business Improvement Association meeting about how to rebrand a community that has seen its fair share of (not particularly positive) headlines. 

What came out of it, though – what I got out of it – was a strong sense of what Newton is doing right. The community, like its city, has a strong and vibrant multicultural core. It has it’s own cultural centre, a leading local art supply store and hidden culinary gems. The area is home to Western Canada’s largest undergraduate school of business, and it has the space to be able to host events and festivals. 

Over the next year, I have the opportunity to have a hand in the marketing and rebranding of the community I work, live and (will eventually) play in. And I’m excited.

It can be easy to lose that sense of community in a city as large as Surrey. It’s also easy to overlook the potential in front of you in favour of the established a two-bridge drive away. While it would take a lot of change to pull my heart and mind entirely away from Vancouver, I think a little change locally – change that highlights what we have to celebrate here – could go a long way.

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