by Janet Lees, Editor

Have you ever read a new word, and then suddenly you start seeing that word everywhere? As an avid reader, that happens often for me. As a journalist, it also extends to stories I write. I interview sources about a concept, learn as much as I can about that concept, write a story about it … and suddenly I’m seeing examples everywhere.

Collaboration is not a new word or a new concept. However, collaborative efforts seem to be breathing new life into our community. My feature article in this issue of On The Bay introduces the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, a new think tank – or, as the organizers call it, a “think and do tank” – that is bringing together the significant business and intellectual talent in our region to explore how we can create a more prosperous and sustainable community.

As I was still at the research stage for this story, I started thinking about examples of collaboration that already exist in our area, from food-related events like the Feast in the Forest and Taste of the Town to the artist studio tours that are so popular in the fall. As I was putting the finishing touches on the article, I even heard about two new local breweries, The Collingwood Brewery and Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery, that have collaborated to produce a new beer!

If local restaurants, artists and businesses can work together to create something better than the sum of its parts, what are the possibilities if different sectors start collaborating with each other? That’s where the Institute comes in. It’s an exciting concept that has the potential to create a truly cohesive, vibrant community that transcends political or geographic interests.

As we head into a municipal election, it’s important to get out and vote for the people who are going to be able to work together with each other and with the community at large to move us in a positive direction instead of nurturing their own narrow political and personal agendas. But it’s also possible to take back our power as citizens and foster community initiatives that see far beyond the four-year terms of our governments.

It’s a thrilling prospect, and I for one would love nothing more than to hear the word “collaboration” on everyone’s lips this fall. ❧

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