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What’s behind Perspectives from King & Ottawa


The intersection of King Street East and Ottawa Street North in Kitchener doesn’t appear to be special at first glance—or even upon closer inspection. There’s a Pioneer gas station that nearly always has the cheapest prices around, a Bank of Montreal branch and not far away the venerable Towne Bowl but nothing that stands out as special. Venturing a bit further away, there are not one but two Tim Horton’s, Value Village, Little Short Stop and Dairy Queen. Still not too exciting you might think—and correctly.

But there are signs of a renaissance of sorts taking place especially just down the street at Ottawa and Charles. The City Café bakery has opened its second location in the old Doon Twines building, across the street The Corner Pub is getting ready to open and there are stops for Grand River Transit’s iXpress. I like to think that a plan to place a LRT “station” at this intersection is spurring this change.

But if you know it, this intersection will strike you as an odd choice for the name of my blog. Yet I deliberately selected it because King and Ottawa describes where I have chosen to live with my wife and kids. So on the surface, this blog is about my perspectives on life in Kitchener as a resident of east end downtown.

On another level, the name begins to hint at who I am. My personal centre of gravity is in the nearby neighbourhood with my childhood home. I keep moving away—to London, Ontario, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto—but I keep coming back home and living within walking distance of my parent’s home. It’s my Kitchener. It has helped define me.

I care about the world around me. I want to make it a better place to live. That desire is what drives me personally and professionally. Whether being involved politically, working at the Daily Bread Food Bank or being active in the arts, I look for ways to express myself and make a difference. So the bigger picture is that this blog is about creating a better world starting with a better Kitchener. I am far from perfect but I hope that by sharing my perspectives, I can help make that happen.

We’ll see how this space evolves but I anticipate posting as I have something to say about an issue that I care about. In most cases, I will focus on how I see Kitchener being a better place to live and what makes it great. I enjoy photography and look forward to having some fun by showing locations in downtown Kitchener that deserve a Diamond Award or a Lump of Coal to highlight what is working and what needs to change.

I hope you find my perspectives interesting. I also hope that they often challenge conventional thinking and hopefully your own perspectives. I find that I can see things from a different angle than is most common and I hope that by sharing this perspective that I can get you to see what is possible so that we can make it happen.
I look forward to your feedback and comments. As together, we can make Kitchener a better place for all of us.

James Howe

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8 comments on “What’s behind Perspectives from King & Ottawa

  1. Hey James!
    Really looking forward to reading your blog!
    Welcome to the Blogosphere 😉

    H.
    http://www.RQmagazine.com

  2. First!
    Lol – Welcome to the local blogoverse! I’m excited about the changes at King and Ottawa, especially with the City Café and The Corner Pub. Maybe not as glamorous as the King/Victoria re-imagining but just as significant.

    Chicken or egg question for you – Downtown Kitchener having over 5 payday loan outfits in a two block stretch.

    Looking forward to seeing more posts!

  3. I’m just up the street at Ottawa and Alpine, definitely looking forward to the blog.

    One fairly minor nit (this is, after all, the internet!): Isn’t City Café’s second location in Preston?

  4. We’re in the building at the where City Cafe is, but backing on to Borden!
    Sign Depot, Look for our Grand Re-Opening May 14th

  5. In my opinion the King & Ottawa area is one of the places we’ll be seeing the most change in urban form in the coming years. I look forward to your posts.

  6. Looking forward to your posts and prospective. It is amazing how much change I have seen in the short time since I moved here three years ago and how much there is still yet to come.

  7. Great blog – really looking forward to new posts!

    By any chance – does anyone happen to have The Corner Pub`s telephone number…I`ve tried searching endlessly on the internet and couldn`t come up with anything!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

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