What are the elements of Mariposa?
In 2017, Orillia celebrated its 150th anniversary, and OMAH held a lens up to Orillia, its people and its places. The initial elements of the community we explored were: geography, the people and the downtown. This exploration of community has not been exhausted. There are many more elements to Mariposa.
Mariposa is the fictional town in Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of A Little Town, drawn from his experiences of his time in Orillia. Stephen Leacock was enchanted by the geography of his new home and the archetypes of people that informed his characters. Community is about the essence of what is already known.
OMAH explored Orillia's location on the twin lakes, Couchiching and Simcoe and how this boosted the city's economy with industry, transportation, and sport.
OMAH explored Orillia's strong industrial past, its employment of local men and women and the overall contributions to the community's economic vitality.
The Main Street
OMAH initiated the exploration of the development of Orillia's main street, Mississaga Street. The community developed with streets radiating from the central source of the main street, with the farmer's market, the heart of the community. The main street was for shopping and socializing. Once suburban growth became a reality in the 1950s, the main street lost its appeal as citizens headed to the malls and large stores. However, the main street is a force of revitalization and directly impacts community economic development.
Orillia's community is based on the complex construct of an authentic place. Community offers a powerful ideology and a place of inclusion.