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What truly is in a number?

(Cartoon by George Longley)

MacLean’s Magazine recently released an article that ranked 415 Canadian communities from first to last.

The list was comprised using a number of metrics including affordability, amenities, demographics, healthcare accessibility and weather.

When all was said and done, Burlington was named as Canada’s top community. Congratulations to them.

In Durham Region, Whitby (55th), Clarington (66th) and Ajax (96th) all made the top 100. Uxbridge (145th) and Pickering (147th) both finished ahead of Oshawa, which ranked ahead of the middle of the pack at 179th.

In a city that sometimes lacks in the self-image category, this middle of the road performance may elicit either positive – at least we weren’t last – or negative reactions.

But really, the list is simply a conversation starter, and a cunning way to get social media shares.

Does it really matter where MacLean’s ranks our city? The answer is no. Like any community, Oshawa has its strengths and its areas where improvement is needed.

As reported in The Oshawa Express a few months ago, the city’s downtown is on the verge of a transformation that will lead to both modernization and beautification.

Ten to 15 years from now, the downtown core will almost be unrecognizable from the past with a number of high-profile developments underway.

But the city is also struggling with the issue of homelessness, which is further complicated by a growing amount of drug addiction and overdoses.

There are also questions surrounding where the future of the city’s economy lies, as we are only months away from the shutdown of the General Motors assembly plant.

But would we all be feeling better if Oshawa was 79th on the list? Or 119th?

Can we turn up our noses at the residents of Courtenay, BC which was ranked 180th or grit our teeth in jealousy of those living in Quesnel, BC because they are the 178th best community in Canada, according to MacLean’s?

We should all be striving to make Oshawa the best city it can be, regardless of what those on the outside looking in think.

And it could be worse, we could be Gravenhurst, Canada’s alleged 415th best community.