Posted by: tgrevatt | December 2, 2009

Place matters to self

Several years ago I relocated for a job. It was fascinating work in an area I was passionate about – professor/coordinator of an innovative applied degree program, teaching real world skills. Unfortuanately, I really struggled to settle in to that region – St Catharines/Niagara. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem though, I just didn’t seem to fit.

After three years I returned to Ottawa, and it felt as comfortable as slipping off the smart shoes at the end of a tradeshow. Ottawa feels right to me, I can be myself and entertain all facets of my personality & interests, easily. For a good read about the importance of place to self, and its ramifications to your work-life, read Richard Florida’s book ‘Who’s your city?‘ . It turns out that Ottawa is ranked amongst the top cities for percentage of residents employed in the creative economy (right up there with DC) – note, the definition of creative class is much broader than you’d expect. And creativity in this context means the process of having original ideas that have value.

Tonight I had supper with one of my former students and he recounted exactly the same feelings over one of his job moves. We concluded that you don’t realise what you value in a community/location until you experience a place that doesn’t work for you. Once you work it out, move to a place that is a good cultural fit, and get happy. I highly recommend it.


  1. I like this! Glad I wound up in Ottawa, it’s creative, lots of stuff going on… excited to see what new things develop 🙂

  2. Treena….some of us still in Niagara miss you very very much, though i do understand what you mean about not really fitting in. I feel much the same here and though I have contemplated moving Ottawa bound (especially since my in laws are in Pembroke) we are still trying to decide what city will be the best fit for us. Maybe Hamilton or Toronto or London? Who knows where life may lead us.

  3. Hi Marija – lovely to hear from you and such kind words too. Those long, cold runs for around the bay were made more enjoyable by folks like you. Try reading Who’s your city? and see if it inspires you. This is a great city and you’d fit in well. We’ve got lots of places for you to work and so many activities to do.
    If you are in town, give us a shout! Alas, not sure when I’ll be in Niagara to catch up with folks. There are things I miss for sure.

  4. Treena I had a fantastic time running in the cold with you too and also just hanging out or stopping by the pie plate or winery hopping with you as well. I will definitely check out that book…who knows, it might help us make a decision on where to move. We’re hoping to come down maybe in february during winterfest though i’ll let you know for certain when closer to the time. I would love to see you again. Its been so long.

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