A guy in a silk business suit, no doubt, with an almost certain six figure salary and fancy Washington D.C. office, has never seen my city. Yet by crunching a few numbers, he thinks he can sign a death warrant to proclaim Canton’s supposed demise. In a twist of irony, however, he chooses a photo of the Palace Theatre to accompany his claims in a national magazine (America’s Fastest Dying Cities). The photo shows a crowd at the Palace that is so large it must be contained by a metal fence. Yes, dying people go to the theater en masse.

I and many of my fellow downtown enthusiasts are not often seen in silk business suits or Hillary-like pantsuits. We don’t have six figure salaries or fancy Washington offices. We often can be seen wearing paint-spattered jeans and funky arts T-shirts, and we scramble to pay the rent. But we are very much alive, and we are keeping our city alive. Check us out on the First Friday of every month. If the crowds were down for the Hall of Fame Festival, it is because they were all in downtown Canton, enjoying the arts and the night, er, LIFE.

Canton certainly faces a number of challenges. It cannot rest on a bed of anguish, though, lamenting its challenges and setbacks. If you are outraged that a national magazine has the audacity to eulogize your city without ever seeing its unique and special attributes, show them that they are wrong. Visit the arts district of downtown Canton and patronize the local galleries and other downtown establishments. Take a tour of the various parks, gardens and landmarks around town. Purchase items that are made locally. And best of all, invite your friends and family from out of town to do the same. Lets show people how alive Canton really is.

BZTAT says: “Don’t diss my city!”