Monday, April 15, 2013

What's in a Name?

Well, I know it was all in good fun but I cannot help but feeling a little hurt by a column last Tuesday (April 9) in the “Regional” section of the SunMedia’s Niagara newspapers.

You see, it was a column by Doug Herod that coincided with another story about how many of Niagara’s cities and towns are branding or rebranding themselves.

Entitled “Fun with municipal monikers,” Herod offered a tongue-and-cheek review of each municipality.

“Take, for instance, Pelham,” he wrote. “The possibilities were endless:  Leaf Blower Capital of Canada; A Town of Two-Car Garages; Underground Lawn Sprinklers R Us.”

“One, though, encapsulates all these elements.  Pelham: A Great Place to Sleep,” he wrote.

Then, Herod proceeded to skewer each of the unique communities of Niagara – from the Garden City, to the Rose City, to the Honeymoon Capital.

So, how do I react?

First, Herod missed a huge opportunity. He could have mentioned that we hired “Chimps” to oversee our rebranding. (In truth, we recently hired a well-respected Niagara firm called Chimpanzee to work together with the community to develop a Pelham brand.)

Second, Herod had to invent a brand for Pelham.

So, what was forgotten or missed?

He wrote nary a word about Pelham’s breathtaking vistas, babbling brooks, plentiful orchards or refreshingly rural character. He neglected our historic villages / hamlets and our distinctive, small-town feel. He offered no word about our diverse and creative businesses and nothing about the hundreds and hundreds of amazing and dedicated volunteers.

What about the Comfort Maple or the Bandshell or the Farmer’s Market? What about our parades or Summerfest, Biketoberfest, and other historic celebrations (like the June 1st commemoration of Fenwick’s 160th)? What about the Fenwick Flagpole or the Fonthill Arches? What about Old Town Hall or Veteran’s Park?  Each of these distinct elements were missed.

Through the years, Pelham has been known as “The Heart of Niagara”, “Five Villages, One Community”, and “The Most Vibrant, Creative, and Caring Community in Niagara.”

I think that the last time the Town involved the public in a type of branding was in the late 1970s / early 1980s while developing of the Town’s Official Coat of Arms. (Please note that our coat of arms and our motto “Floreat Pelham” (or “May Pelham Flourish”) will not change.)

That’s why it’s important for you and your neighbours and friends to work together with the Town over the next couple of months to develop and refine the right brand for Pelham. The first step is to take the online survey at

Then, at least next time, Herod can lambast Pelham’s correct moniker.