It was a phrase that leapt out at me recently, as I read one of the Toronto newspapers. The sports story came out just after the announcement that Buffalo was selected to host the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. In fact, one of the reasons Buffalo was selected, was because of its proximity to the lucrative Southern Ontario hockey market – a hotbed of NHL fans – that will attract a lot of cross border fan to Buffalo.
The sports writer who wrote this piece, acknowledged Buffalo’s close ties to the Golden Horseshoe region (Niagara/St. Catherine/Hamilton), going so far as to refer to the Queen City as Buffalo, Ontario. I have to say I loved it. I loved the association. I love the fact that this newly minted creative pairing of words really reflects the common culture that exists between Western New York and Southern Ontario, and the close bonds we share.
I wrote about this a few months back on BRO, but the fact that other Ontarians like the sports writer echo my own sentiments, is proof that this cross border connection is a phenomenon that extends beyond my personal feelings and affinity for Buffalo. Indeed, sports plays a big part of our bi-national brotherhood. One need not look any further than Coca Cola Field to see this. That the Bisons were signed on a couple years back as the Jay’s Triple A farm team speaks volumes about the recognition and respect, socially and economically, that our two regions have for each other. No better proof of this, than an article that ran in the St. Catherines Standard newspaper in January of 2015, Bisons Want Canadian Fans that shows how important our respective regions are to each other.
More proof? Take a walk in front of City Hall. Look up…and what do you see? The Maple Leaf Flag. Head over to Main Street where the Hyatt fronts the re-opened road. Look up…what do you see? The Maple Leaf flag. It’s visuals like these which, for me, serve more than just reinforcing our mutual affection. These visuals make me proud. Not just because of the pride I feel for seeing the Canadian flag flown on the flip side of the Niagara River, but proud for the fact that a city like Buffalo affirms, values and embraces its neighbour to the north. At a time when much of America is turning inward and tightening its borders, where some Americans are even suggesting the outlandish and preposterous idea of building a security wall between our two countries, it warms me to know that Buffalo New York looks to the north, not in fear…but in friendship. As a Canamerican, I say Thank You Buffalo.