Calgary and why we love it

What is it about Calgary that draws people from across the country and makes people from around the world choose to call it home?  Is it because Calgary has been ranked the 5th most liveable city on earth for 6 years in a row by the Economist based on 30 metrics? For those of us that were born and bred here, it’s easy to overlook the many reasons. We’ve heard people lamenting its shortcomings, we may have even done so ourselves.

When we ask people why they love this city the results can be illuminating. My 11 year old daughter often tells me she loves this city because its busy, but not too busy. I know exactly what she means. As a born and raised Calgarian, it is unusual to meet someone who exhibits the same enthusiasm for the city as I do and I was eager to talk with Cody about his love for Calgary and about his online boosterism @calgaryism.

The instant I met Cody I quickly discovered his energy for Calgary cannot be contained and he easily lists the reasons why we need to stop criticizing Calgary. It was more than refreshing to hear about this city from another proud and loyal Calgarian. When asked what was best about Calgary Cody quickly replied with:

The opportunities!

We all remember the days of 100$ oil and the perception that Calgary was a gold mine, but even in a cooler environment there are opportunities for all those ready to try It is the opportunities mixed with the optimism and energy that elevate Calgary to much more than a temporary boomtown. We all love to criticize however lets run through the top three ways Cody shows off this amazing city to friends and family that visit.

The excuse that downtown Calgary is boring is bunk.

1) Tour of downtown. Calgary gets a hard time for our perceived lack of downtown culture. We’ve all heard the cliché that downtown is “dead” after 5pm. Nobody is going to confuse Calgary with Paris but when we take a deeper look at the claim that Calgary is a cultural wasteland, we realize that that’s nonsense! We have festivals galore, the Riverwalk, the Peace Bridge, the third largest Chinatown in Canada, the burgeoning East Village, the Core shopping, rafting on the Bow! The list could fill volumes.

Our vistas are one of the best in the world.

2) Have you seen the mountains? The Rockies are truly a treasure and Calgarians are fortunate to be able to see them every day. As Cody points out, there are so many vantage points in the city to see the mountains. Understandably the Rockies get all the attention, but as a southern Albertan the sight of the prairie is breathtaking too. They say that Montana is “Big sky country” but gazing upon any landscape in Calgary will make you appreciate the beauty of this place.

Pathways!…Have we talked about pathways?

3) Calgary has more park space and pathways than most cities in North America and has consistently been named one of the worlds cleanest cities. That fact might not seem very impressive but we want you to sit and think about it. From the wild parks like Fish Creek or Nose Hill to the manicured lawns of Central Memorial Park, there’s something for any and every taste. Do you want musical festivals? Prince’s Island Park has you covered; Do you want to watch a cricket match? Riley Park is the place for you; Want to learn about Calgary’s past? Heritage Park!; what about Opera? Enmax Park plays host! On and on it goes. Calgary’s parks are an under appreciated gem.

Having heard so much positive from a Calgary cheerleader I was made to wonder why people don’t seem to appreciate it all. So I had to ask the tough question: What is the biggest struggle Calgary has? Cody was unhesitating in his reply, “The excuse mentality!”

This made me pause because I’ve heard it frequently from my generation. People my age have been incredibly lucky to travel the world and we instinctively compare Calgary to those places. Often these comparisons are unfair. Cody continued “Calgary is one of the best places you can live. The more you travel the more you realize how great our parks are. How great our food scene is. How Calgary is one of the greatest places you can live.”

Sitting down with Cody made me proud to be Calgarian again. It’s easy living in this city to take it all for granted, but when we slow down and take a moment to think about it we see things big and small which make Calgary a great city. “I love Calgary, I love life, and I truly believe we are all blessed to be Canadian.

Jessica Barkwell

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