Welcome to St. Thomas, the city of unbridled pessimism.

If a question is asked about St. Thomas, the answers will vary from the very positive to the extremely negative. That range of responses tend to be expected but the number of negative comments always seem to vastly outweigh the positive ones. It seems that residents focus more on the downside of St. Thomas rather than the upside.

Of course, part of the reason for this is the internet itself. If you imagine a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being OK with and 10 being extremely positive and happy about it, it seems that people need to rate at least an 8 on the scale before they respond, whereas with a similar scale, 1 being just not OK with and 10 being completely, utterly unhappy, a 3 will get a response. Therefore, the more likely the chance of negative feedback.

Often, the focus of complaints focus on one or two things. Drug problem (including the clinic), empty stores downtown, teenage mothers and no available work. The latest addition to the negative list is the proposed ‘Garden on the Bridge’ idea. The number of comments about people falling or jumping of the bridge is staggering. Does anyone really think there wouldn’t be tall fences along each side of the bridge so that little children and dogs couldn’t walk off the edge? It is also sad to note that if someone is looking to end their life, they will find a way, regardless of the fences before them. No one is saying that these are not issues that should be addressed in some form or other but does that really sum up St. Thomas?

What about the stores that are full at the other end of St. Thomas? What about the store fronts have been redesigned to make them more appealing? The Doug Tarry baseball facility that is outstanding. The Timkin Centre. If looking for older places of pride, what about the old court house, Emslie Field, perhaps the iconic building in St. Thomas, the train station. Yes, the railroads have abandoned St. Thomas but they left behind a full legacy. The potential to take advantage of that is almost limitless. How about the numerous small and home businesses that create so many amazing products? What about the Horton Farmers Market? How about the natural beauty that surrounds the city? The many events held in and around St. Thomas?

It simply is easier to be negative and focus on what’s wrong with the city rather than what is right with it. There have been so many job losses, that truth is unavoidable, but suggesting that the city council should have done more to stop it doesn’t make sense. What were they supposed to do? Lower the business rents so less money comes into the budget and so to balance, more taxes are paid (this is a guess as I have no idea how it works, but it seems to make sense in my head at this time of the morning).

The fortunes of St. Thomas will always fluctuate, there will always be lulls and peaks. Just remember that no matter what you believe of St. Thomas, the population keeps increasing. People obviously are choosing to live here. There must be a reason for that!

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  1. I totally agree Nathan. I don’t know when the citizens of St. Thomas became so darn negative about our city. Recently a question was asked about a new nickname for St. Thomas and I would say 99.9% of the comments were negative. I was shocked, so I did a small informal poll of my own. I asked my friends the same question. 3 out of 4 of them were also negative. When I asked why, they just laughed or shrugged it off. I would like to think that this isn’t a true representation of the city’s citizens. I mean we always have a great turnout for community events: Fire Muster, Iron Horse, parades, all events in the parks, etc etc. Come on folks, maybe it’s time for those of us that love our big little town to get loud and proud!! Personally I have lived elsewhere and I hated it. I am glad to be home in St. Thomas. I was born here and here is where I will die. There’s no place like home!!

  2. There does seem to be a perception of a negative attitude here, but here are some suggestions to help turn things around.
    1. Get involved in some way – attend a community event, volunteer your time, go to a meeting, anything to show that you want to help the city.
    2. Support local business – keeping your dollars in the community is a great way to show you care about St. Thomas.
    3. Talk up St. Thomas and try to say something positive about the community, especially to people from out of town. This is the best way to change attitudes about our city – talk it up!
    Keep up the good work, Nathan. The St. Thomas Blog is doing a great job promoting our community.

  3. I noved my small business to St. Thomas almost three years ago and it has done well. It has used St. Thomas residents and suppliers whenever possible and we are extremely happy here.