The Southern Ontario area is similar to the Midwest is lots of ways. Socially and economically the two regions share more than just a border.

So when the Toronto Globe & Mail newspaper did a story about the plight of Ontario and the Midwest's financial tribulations, they sent a reporter to our fair city.

And it's very complimentary on how Grand Rapids has turned itself into a model for health and as a destination -- as well as beer.

The Toronto Globe & Mail reports"

In Grand Rapids, it was only later in the 20th century that a small number of business leaders and their families –almost exclusively Republicans – responded to their city becoming a ghost town by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into it. First, that included funds for infrastructure and anchor institutions: a new arena, a convention centre and hospital expansions. More recently, it has meant funding ArtPrize, an enormous three-week arts festival that has helped turn the west Michigan town into a destination.

"It is impossible to get through a conversation in Grand Rapids without hearing about philanthropy. “You don’t participate in this community if you don’t give time and treasure,” says John Kennedy, a staunch conservative who started an auto-parts company in the 1980s that is now worth over $250-million. “I’m not talking about giving back, because I don’t believe in that. I’m talking about investing in the future of the community.”

The article talks about Amway's Rick DeVos and how ArtPrize has helped put Grand Rapids on the map.

When you live here it's hard to understand how good we have it here. It's nice to see how others view us. And from this view we are doing pretty well.

Photo: WZZM-13