Despite the fact that four generations of Smiths have lived in the Steinbach area, and there’s even an arena named after one of them, Mr. Thomas Smith, 41, is still asked every day of his life whether he’s from around here.
“In Steinbach, they just can’t fathom any other surname besides Penner, Loewen, and Friesen,” said Smith. “It’s really quite annoying.”
Smith recalls the last time he renewed his driver’s license.
“She just looked at me and asked, ‘So, when did you move into town?'” says Smith. “Well, for your information, Miss, I was born in the Bethesda Hospital right here in Steinbach! Gosh, it’s annoying.”
Many Mennonites are still unaware that Steinbach is no longer the Mennonite enclave it once was – say in the 1880s.
“I think we need to have a Smith awareness campaign,” explained Mr. Smith. “The Johnsons, Wilsons and Lesages can join in on it, too, if they want.”
Thanks to the vigillent efforts of Thomas Smith and others, a motion to change the “Welcome to Steinbach” signs to “Steinbach: You’re Not From Around Here Are You” was narrowly defeated this past fall.
(photo credit: by Cristiano Betta )