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Northern Ontario deserves a capital N

This is a note I sent to Canadian Press this morning.

I listened with interest to your discussion with CBC Radio North’s Markus Schwabe today regarding CP capitalization policy on Northern Ontario (northern Ontario).

As a reporter, and later an editor in Sudbury, I capitalize Northern Ontario–but not northeastern Ontario or northwestern.

I believe when I first started writing for Northern Ontario Business in 1986, CP capitalized Northern Ontario but not southern or southwestern. Then a few years ago, the new style book came out…and lowercased northern Ontario!

My reasons for capitalizing it is that it is a region like the Maritimes or the Prairies. For years, the federal government has had a FEDNOR program with programs just for Northern Ontario. At one time this was north of the French River; then it became Parry Sound, and now I believe includes Muskoka.

The Ontario government has a ministry that looks after just Northern Ontario–the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

And, as you say, for the people who live in Northern Ontario, it is a state of mind, a place very different than the rest of the province for many reasons including landscape, natural resources, scattered population, and until very recently two-lane highways. The 400 series used to stop just north of Barrie, and still hasn’t made its way to Sudbury.

Hope you reconsider.

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