As Edmonton recedes in the rear view mirror of our fully loaded Ford Escape (luggage, not leather and sunroof) I can’t help but smell a whiff of regret. No…wait…that’s the cat litter from the litterbox at the back of the car. Never mind. No regret.
Anyway, the first leg of our cross-country journey is complete. Greetings from the homicide capital of Canada! Just a tip…you might not want to stay at the Howard-Johnson’s in Regina.
Thoughts so far:
- I’m pretty sure that the Yellowhead Highway makes the surrounding part of every city it goes through look like a post-apocalyptic nightmare of concrete and big-boxes. Edmonton, Lloydminster, Saskatoon – none come out looking pretty from the Yellowhead.
- I’m bummed we didn’t stop at the Historic Telephone Museum in Manville, AB. That is something I’ll have wished I did when I’m on my death bed.
- Our cat stopped meowing somewhere outside of Lloydminster, thank the lord.
- Saskatchewan is kind of boring at night. I mean, it’s not a thrill a minute in the light, but at least we could see the fields.
What’s next? Manitoba and beyond!
BONUS GAME: First person who can tell me where this picture is wins a prize!
As some of you know, Ben Co. HQ is relocating to Toronto, ON. Now, I’ve written all sorts of fun things about Edmonton, AB over the past year and a half that we’ve been there, but it is time to move on to bigger and better things.
What does this mean? Why, another cross-country road trip. Yep, nothing but me, my wife, our cat, and kilometer upon kilometer of prairie. So, to share my pain fun, we’re gonna be blogging all across Canada. Keep your eye out, as we’ll update when wireless access permits!
See you in 3,419 kilometers!
Now that I’m safely ensconced in my friends condo in Toronto happily suckling from the teat of urbanism, density and an efficient public transit system, I think I can safely reflect on the 10 things I hated most from my time in Edmonton.
I know, I know…how could I possibly narrow it down to 10? I’m that good. So, here it is, the top 10 things I hated about Edmonton.
Top 10 Things I Hated About Edmonton
1. Apparent Lack of Any Urban Planning…At All
Now, I know no city is perfect. All major urban centres have gone through periods of rampant growth which throws any sort of coherent planning out the window, but Edmonton has really done it with style. At various times during my stay in Edmonton I had asked long time Edmontonians why the city seemed to grow as an amporphous blob, and most times I recieved vauge answers around “the landscape promotes this sort of growth.”
Oh really…the landscape dictates that you build a sea of big box stores on your main entry to your downtown core, or that you allow parking lots and Walmarts to surround apartment complexes without any thought to walkability? I didn’t realized that those wide open spaces erased any concept of historical preservation, density, or urban planning. I mean, Edmonton covers 680 some sq. km., larger than Chicago, Phillie, Montreal, or…yes, Toronto. And the actual City of Edmonton population is around 730,000. Obnoxious.
That’s right, folks, we are pulling up stakes, loading of the Red River cart and heading back to the bright lights of Toronto.
Yessir, we’ve had enough of this oil loving, profit at all costs province and decided to make our fortunes in a less heady economic environment.
“But Ben,” you say, “surely there must be something you liked during your stay in the Wild Rose province?” And you’re right…so here’s my top 10 things I liked about my time in Edmonton and Alberta. While these are kind of in order of preference, they’re not really.
Top 10 Things I Liked About Edmonton
The conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is a transplant from Minneapolis, so he gets bonus points right there. He had a terrific way of connecting with the audience and creating a relaxed atmosphere. Plus, the exuberance with which he conducted was contagious and you couldn’t help but be engaged – and he gets major bonus points for the “bum wiggling” incident.
I wanted to reproduce this editorial from today’s Edmonton Journal:
In the next three-plus years, each time you hear an Albertan complain about the provincial government, remember this
Chances will be almost three out of five that the grumbler cared so little about the future direction and management of public affairs he now bewails that he or she couldn’t be bothered to vote on March 3, 2008.
I don’t even want to talk about it, I’ll just give you two sets of data to compare.
Popular Vote – by %
Conservatives – 53%
Liberal - 25%
NDP – 9%
Alliance – 7%
Green – 5%
Actual Seats in Legislature – Out of 83
Conservatives – 73
Liberal – 8
NDP – 2
Alliance – 0
Green – 0
Does this seem disproportionate to anyone else?
In any case, good riddance Alberta, you can have your 4 decade long dynasty of incompetence and shortsightedness. Enjoy.
Well, all you Albertans should be wiping the sleep from your eyes and heading off to the polling station now. I, like many others, am not hopeful that any meaningful change will occur when polls close tonight.
As the Globe and Mail reports, this election has done little to capitalize on voter discontent around rampant growth, massive increases in the cost of living, and the environmental degradation that has occurred under the Alberta Tories (37 years and counting…).
Janice Brown predicts that the Tories will pick up 70 to 72 seats. I can hope for less, but in the end it appears that most Albertans are still either too dumb, lazy, or conservative to vote for any party other than the Conservatives.
While I had some faint hope that the influx of new Albertans might make a difference it appears that most people are more concerned with milking the hot economy for all it’s worth rather than making a political statement.
Good riddance, I say. Time to head somewhere where there is some semblance of a democratic process.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote, though, so find your polling station. At the very least Alberta can avoid having a record-low voter turnout. Maybe.
And keep your eye on Ben Co. for my Top 10 best and worst of Alberta.
I think I used up my 15 minutes of fame, and it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.
After many passionate letters to the Edmonton Journal on topics ranging from homelessness to municipal infrastructure issues, this is what gets published:
At least now I have a good barometer of what type of writing they are looking for in the Edmonton Journal. Passionate and informed – no; Snarky and vacuous – YES, PLEASE!
Oh, and I was censored. I wrote “good old grand theft auto.” Much more poetic.