A longtime subscriber wrote the other day to say he really liked a couple of stories we had run on Page 2.
He said in these tough times, he wished the Free Press would publish a "dose of uplifting stories" to counteract the daily grind.
I replied that we've been trying to keep Page 2 on the lighter side for some time.
I like to think of it as a refuge for day-brighteners like humour columnist Doug Speirs or trends pieces. We often go looking for something suitable for Page 2.
The next day, though, when we ran a story that said today's economic recession is nothing like the Great Depression, the reader fired back. "What happened today? Couldn't find anything uplifting for A2?"
Hey, some days you take what you can get.
Well, today we are launching a series that I hope many of you will find "uplifting." It's called We Believe in Winnipeg, and it focuses on some of the great things about this city and its people, things we may not have known, things we may take for granted, things we can and should take pride in.
Winnipeggers don't like to acknowledge this stuff as a rule. We can trade self-deprecating jokes about mosquitoes and wind chills with the best of them.
We have spent years mocking Toronto's self-proclaimed world-class status, and we rarely allow ourselves to rejoice in our successes.
You don't see many tall poppies in these parts. Even the wealthy wear sensible shoes.
But the series is an eye-opener. We're finding pockets of excellence in all sectors of Winnipeg's economy -- from aerospace to agriculture to the arts (and that's just the As). We're talking to people who have invested themselves in this city because they believe in it and have managed to carve out singular success in their field.
Every Sunday for the next two months, we'll publish these stories to give you a look at the people and places that make Winnipeg a great place to live.
Did you know, for example, that Cercle Molière is the oldest theatre troupe in North America, or that we blue-collar Winnipeggers buy tickets to arts events at twice the per-capita rate of Torontonians?
Read all about it in our first We Believe series in Section E today, a spotlight on Winnipeg's arts scene.