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Letter: Pinehill Coffee Shop, our Third Place

North Bay is not immune to the disappearance of local nostalgia, as it is occurring all over Ontario and Canada

To the editor:

This week's announcement of the closing of the iconic Pinehill Coffee Shop brings the end to another of North Bay’s Third Places!

Of course, many North Bay residents, current or past, have visited this friendly neighbourhood diner/store at least once in their lifetime, while others have made this little neighbourhood hangout their third place for many decades.

For those who have not heard of the term “The Third Place”, it is a sociology term that refers to the social surroundings that are completely separate from our two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place").

This announcement of another “ma and pop shop'' closing is not uncommon nowadays as society and businesses transition from generation to generation.

North Bay is not immune to the disappearance of local nostalgia, as it is occurring all over Ontario and Canada. The difference is that it has a greater and more immediate impact on smaller and northern communities such as North Bay.

As community demographics change so does the local landscape which is part of the process for society. Good examples of third places include churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, bookstores, and parks.

If you have a chance to read a copy of the Great Good Place, it discusses that third places are important for a community's civic engagement. More specifically, it directly enhances local democracy by establishing a sense of place or belonging.

While social media seems to have replaced our in-person Third Place, it is not the same as looking people in the eyes while discussing local sports, politics, gossip, or global news. Societal change is inevitable.

So the announcement by Pinehill Coffee Shop should be appreciated and thank the owners and staff for their years of providing the North Bay residents a safe Third Place.

Now for the Pinehill faithful, it's time to find another safe and welcoming Third Place, and rumours have it that it is Burger World on Algonquin.

David Thompson

North Bay