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Why is it so difficult to find Canadian sources and supplies?

We were working on a promotional piece, and, because we are a small start-up with limited resources, we opted for stock photography.  Since we feel strongly about our Canadian identity and want to highlight it , whenever possible, we wanted to spend our small budget on a stock shot by a Canadian photographer.  We spent some time looking on the sites of the largest companies, Getty and Masterfile.  The search allowed us to access Canadian content, but we couldn’t find anything suitable.

Then I found an extremely helpful listing at http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2008/02/27/stock-photo-agencies/  (thank you to Jay!) where we found All Canada Photos http://www.allcanadaphotos.com/.  We thought we’d hit the jackpot, however only about 4 photos corresponding to our topic were royalty-free.  So we went with a shot we loved, but have no idea who shot it, or where it came from.  And we can’t feel good about patronizing Canadian products, which we really like, because we’re proud of being Canadian.

Last Holiday Season, being a poor, not to mention recently launched, start-up and all, we wanted to send Holiday Wishes to our clients and journalist contacts.  There are many services that send greetings (electronic or snail-mail) on your behalf for a reasonable donation.  It took us a week to find one that was Canadian http://www.cardshelpingkids.ca/.  It was a good service, but it would be a better one if it was better known, more popular or was better supported (the choices of “cards” was limited, for example).

We know there is a tremendous amount of talent in our country.  There is a huge entrepreneurial spirit.  There are tons of Canadian products and services available.

But there seems to be something missing.

I’m not sure if we, as modest Canadian are fearful  of “shameless self-promotion”, turning it into “shameful self-promotion”, apologizing for having the nerve to contact someone and trying to sell our services. (I know I sometimes struggle with this issue when I am prospecting).

Is the famous Canadian “neutrality” really just a sense of complacency?  It may well be that there is a lack of support and cooperation necessary to actively share knowledge of resources, businesses and services that are Canadian.  Perhaps it’s just easier to go with what’s prominent and known, whatever comes up on top of the search list.

Is it because of the reliance on and influence of the largest social media vehicles in the world, which come out of the U.S.?  Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Foursquare, to name a few, who are not organized to serve local markets in this way.  And why would they be, it wouldn’t even cross their minds.

Am I missing something?  Barking up the wrong tree?  Out to lunch?

I think we need a better way to know what’s in our own back yard.