Top 10 Things I Hated About Edmonton
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.
Note: Before you leave a rambling, swear-filled comment, maybe read the Top 10 Things I Liked About Edmonton post that goes along with this one.
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 amorphous blob, and most times I received vague 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.
2. Lack of Identity
Now, this is a tricky thing for any municipality to grasp. And yet, all the great cities have managed to nail down their “feel.” New York has done it, Toronto has done it, Paris, Chicago…hell, even London, Ontario has a better sense of self than Edmonton.
As the capital of Alberta you would think that the city could come up with something more creative than “City of Champions.” Now, the attempts to rebrand as the “Festival City” are admirable, but a vast majority of Edmontonians seem to prefer resting on the bygone “glory” years of when Gretzky played there. I mean, sure, hockey is big in Canada, but should a city that is trying to portray itself as an urban destination really rely on that as its selling point?
3. Lack of Professional Sports
Bias alert. I don’t enjoy hockey. Never have, most likely never will. I really tried to get in to it when we arrived in Edmonton because, well, there were no other choices. Outside of hockey you have…the Edmonton Crackercats (Think Bad News Bears w/out Walter Matthau there to act all grumpy), Edmonton Rush (arguably more enjoyable than hockey, though), and, oh yes, the soon to debut Edmonton Chill…if only I’d stuck around enough for that!
One of the big reasons I decided to move to Edmonton over Calgary was that I heard it was significantly more liberal. This is a lie. I would estimate that those of a small-L liberal mindset (you know, compassion for your fellow citizen, a desire to improve the overall plight of residents as a whole) compose approximately 10% of the population. This is the province that had a record low voter turnout (42%) in the last provincial election, and the sitting Conservative government that refused to address skyrocketing housing prices, especially for rentals (“leave it to to the free market). But, enough people are making enough money in the oilsands that there is no motivation for change. I can’t handle that.
Saving grace on the political scene: daveberta.
I hate manufactured bars, and these two are the worst of the worst Edmonton has to offer. I’ve never been, but I can still judge, because that’s what I do. If you want to have a theme bar, great. But please, for the love of Christ, don’t try and sell me cow-whores. I know they are trying to corner the 18-19 year old market there in Edmonton, but even I get queasy with the flesh peddling. And the next girl I see in a bustier I’m going to punch her in the face…no doubt in my mind.
When I think of Edmonton’s social conservative scene this is who I will think of. I respect people with different opinions, and I typically will listen for quite a while before smacking them. But this guy is so far gone I don’t even know where to start. In fact, it’s better if you just read his “campaign platform” from when he ran for Mayor of Edmonton.
Apparently this is a big selling point for Edmonton. When I asked people what to do shortly after arriving, going to “the Mall” was in the top 3. I really don’t understand how you can use an enormous shopping mall as a selling point. I try to avoid malls whenever I can. I mean, my idea of fun is not cramming myself into an giant gerbil tube with thousands of others all trying to get an awesome deal on those novelty tshirts at American Eagle. Speaking of punching people in the face…
8. Lack of Tumbleweeds
I saw one…in Drumheller…and it wasn’t even tumblin’. I really thought those suckers would be all over the place…you know, you’re walking along and all of a sudden you hear a whip crack, the wind blows, and Old Man Strathcona rides by herding his tumbleweeds to market. What a let down.
9. Idiots in Big Trucks
Now, I know some people use trucks…farmers, construction workers, and the like. But I also know that the vast majority of jackasses I’ve seen in Edmonton driving jacked up, chromed out, over-sized trucks with various decals of a) naked women, b) Bootleg Calvin’s peeing on something, or c) “Go Oilers Go” are not using their trucks for work.
And why are all of these idiots so small? I pull into the bank and there is a truck pulled across not one, but two handicapped spots. I walk in and try and guess who it might be…sure enough, it’s this little 5’4 dude with a mustache who has to use a step stool to get into his monstrosity of vehicle.
10. Truck Testicles
I had never seen this “fashion trend” until I got to Edmonton and suddenly they were everywhere.
What is this guy thinking? How twisted must your mind be to really think that hanging fake balls off of your truck somehow makes you look…cool…hip…smart…funny…or anything that might remotely be considered complimentary. Is there a whole sector of the population that looks at these and goes, “My, what a nice accessory to that truck, I think much more highly of the gentleman who is driving it.” No, of course not. Everyone who sees this mocks the driver. But someone who puts them on, such as our friend in the picture, must have some serious ED problems.
So, there it is. No more Edmonton for me. In fact, two days in Toronto has already dimmed some of my rage…kind of like Dorothy when she wakes up…almost as if it never happened. Now I just have to rescue Gwen!