'Imagine that!': The story behind some Maritime town slogans
If you've been on the road in the Maritimes this summer, you've probably seen some interesting road signs and slogans.
Maybe Stewiacke, N.S.: Halfway between the North Pole & Equator.
Or, Charlottetown: Great things happen here.
Or, these two:
Mike Whalen, a professor of marketing and advertising at Mount Saint Vincent University, drives to his cottage outside of Liverpool, N.S., most weekends. He sees a lot of slogans on the way.
"And they're not memorable," Whalen said, noting that he couldn't think of any.
Slogans need to be original, believable and differentiate a place, he said.
It's about knowing their role and their target audience, he said. That audience might be the people who live there, people you want to live there, or people you want to visit.
Here are a few slogans in the Maritimes, and their meanings.
Little Town of Big Firsts
The sign on the highway outside of Windsor, N.S., has two slogans, which have been around for over 20 years.
The first is more well-known: The Birthplace of Hockey.
The second is the Little Town of Big Firsts.
So, there's hockey, but what else?
"What we like to say here in Windsor is, 'We grow 'em and we row 'em," said VanEssa Roberts, the town's director of community development, tourism and recreation.
She's talking about pumpkins.
The first world champion giant pumpkin was grown in Windsor by Howard Dill. And, fittingly, the world's first pumpkin regatta was held here, too.
But there's a long list of firsts.
You've probably even quoted one of Windsor's firsts, Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton. He's the first recognized humour writer in North America.
A lot of memorable phrases came from his character Sam Slick, including "it's raining cats and dogs."
The Town of Stratford, P.E.I., doesn't have two slogans, but it does have two words: Imagine that!
Mayor David Dunphy said the town came up with that slogan about five years ago when it was doing a visioning exercise with residents.
"Some said, 'Imagine that, it can be this, this, this and this. Imagine that, it can be whatever you want it to be,'" Dunphy said.
And that was that.
"It's a new community, so it can be whatever you want it to be."
Saint John has had a number of official and unofficial slogans over the years.
Right now it doesn't technically have an official one.
But these days Saint John is more like Saint Awesome.
"It started actually as Saint everything," said Victoria Clarke, the executive director of Discover Saint John. "So we had Saint Awesome. We had Saint Beautiful. Saint Innovative. Saint Historic."
"To kind of use marketing speak, it was the Saint Awesome one that was sticky."
The tourism tagline is sticking with residents too, Clarke said.
"Every city has its ups and downs, and I'm sure that there are people in this city that perhaps scoff at Saint Awesome," Clarke said.
But overall, it's been received positively, Clarke said.
"It had a life of its own that we would have never anticipated."