My name is James Howe. Visit my disclosure page to learn more about me. The perspectives and opinions offered in this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of any employers or groups to which I belong.

The purpose of this “Behind the Perspectives” page is to give you an idea about why I write this blog and what I am trying to achieve. In short, I am sharing ideas that I am confident can make our world better starting with a better Kitchener. Therefore, I use Kitchener as my starting point but I tackle a wide range of issues that make Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada and the world a better place to live.

Make your voice heard

I have chosen to make my voice heard because I believe that doing so is important to stimulating Change. I also hope to gather support for my ideas or perspectives as part of the process to provoke change. At the very least, I hope to spark debate that makes all of our lives better. I spoke about making your voice heard at Ignite Waterloo. I encourage you to take five minutes to listen to my talk. It’ll give you insights into what I’m trying to do here and may ignite in you a spark to do the same thing in your own way. You can read the text of my talk and some additional thoughts in a related blog post. I encourage you to make your voice heard too!

The context for this blog

What follows is my first blog post from March 18, 2010 that outlines what is behind Perspectives from King and Ottawa and what you can expect to find here at Perspectives from James Howe. An updated look at what I’m trying to achieve with this blog is found in my post announcing its name change.


The intersection of King Street East and Ottawa Street North in Kitchener doesn’t appear to be special at first glance—or even upon closer inspection. There’s a Pioneer gas station that nearly always has the cheapest prices around, a Bank of Montreal branch and not far away the venerable Towne Bowl but nothing that stands out as special. Venturing a bit further away, there are not one but two Tim Horton’s, Value Village, Little Short Stop and Dairy Queen. Still not too exciting you might think—and correctly.

But there are signs of a renaissance of sorts taking place especially just down the street at Ottawa and Charles. The City Café bakery has opened its third location in the old Doon Twines building, across the street The Corner Pub is getting ready to open and there are stops for Grand River Transit’s iXpress. I like to think that a plan to place a LRT “station” at this intersection is spurring this change.

But if you know it, this intersection will strike you as an odd choice for the name of my blog. Yet I deliberately selected it because King and Ottawa describes where I have chosen to live with my wife and kids. So on the surface, this blog is about my perspectives on life in Kitchener as a resident of east end downtown.

On another level, the name begins to hint at who I am. My personal centre of gravity is in the nearby neighbourhood with my childhood home. I keep moving away—to London, Ontario, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto—but I keep coming back home and living within walking distance of my parent’s home. It’s my Kitchener. It has helped define me.

I care about the world around me. I want to make it a better place to live. That desire is what drives me personally and professionally. Whether being involved politically, working at the Daily Bread Food Bank or being active in the arts, I look for ways to express myself and make a difference. So the bigger picture is that this blog is about creating a better world starting with a better Kitchener. I am far from perfect but I hope that by sharing my perspectives, I can help make that happen.

We’ll see how this space evolves but I anticipate posting as I have something to say about an issue that I care about. In most cases, I will focus on how I see Kitchener being a better place to live and what makes it great. I enjoy photography and look forward to having some fun by showing locations in downtown Kitchener that deserve a Diamond Award or a Lump of Coal to highlight what is working and what needs to change.

I hope you find my perspectives interesting. I also hope that they often challenge conventional thinking and hopefully your own perspectives. I find that I can see things from a different angle than is most common and I hope that by sharing this perspective that I can get you to see what is possible so that we can make it happen.

I look forward to your feedback and comments. As together, we can make Kitchener a better place for all of us.