Calgary is on a roll this year. Our city was ranked 17th on the New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2014” list and also received acclamations from the Guardian, who called it the city that has gone “from cowboy town to cosmopolitan cool.”
Recently, MoneySense magazine added more fuel to Calgary’s ego, by naming it the second-best place to live in all of Canada.
While that’s cool and all, it likely has many Calgarians wondering, “Is this a joke?”
Sure, Calgary is nice — but like a relationship, it’s not exactly the city you fall in love with or one that you want to spend all of your free time in. It’s more like the city you end up settling down with when 30 rolls around.
People who don’t live in Calgary love the city’s premise because it is great in principle. Calgary’s streets are clean and we have a steady economy. Our crime rate is low and our unemployment rate is lower.
The people are so accepting and diverse that we voted a brown Muslim guy for mayor and he later led the Pride parade.
In principle? Calgary is pretty much heaven on earth.
In reality? Calgary is incredibly boring. If it was a person, it would be a registered Progressive Conservative named John with a nine-to-five job who ended up marrying Barb, a woman he met on PlentyofFish, whose hormones fluctuate much the same way the weather here does.
We live in Calgary because it’s easy and it’s safe.
We know Calgary lacks a certain panache which we all crave. That’s why Barb is always secretly looking for something better — Vancouver is exciting and fun with all of its movies, celebrities and beaches, while Toronto is the dangerous bad boy with a high crime rate and a cocaine-snorting-cunnilingus-loving mayor.
They’re not practical places, but no one falls in love with practical.
Barb wants an adventure.
Also, let’s forget the idea that Calgary is somehow now “cosmopolitan cool” because seriously — the most famous nightclub we have is literally called Cowboys, and it’s filled with people who look more like cows than cowboys.
Kind of sorry.
The nightlife goes on until about 2 a.m. on a good night, and then everything closes and the city sleeps.
Yep, that’s when Barb wants you home by, Calgary. Be back by 2 a.m. so you can make sure your kids, Jared and Julia, are in their beds with their retainers on, getting ready for another exciting day in a safe but inclusive school district.
That’s pretty much Calgary in a nutshell, a never-ending boring routine.
Yeah, we have a cool event here and there and some fantastic restaurants, but you want to have a real good time? You have to leave the city, go to Canmore, go to Banff, travel and find a mountain to hike because there is nothing for you here. The only year-round tourism hotspot we have is the Calgary Tower, which is about as fun as receiving an enema — except climbing the damn thing takes more of your time.
You stand on a tower with a glass floor for about 30 minutes. That might sound super cool, except for the fact that the floor opens up a view to bland and uninspired downtown architecture.
The floor also rotates, as if to suggest that maybe the scenery will improve. It doesn’t.
Now, I don’t want to bag on Calgary this entire time because I grew up here — I wish nothing but the best for the city that accepted me into its wide, urban sprawling arms and raised me to be the person I am today.
But after seeing what the world has to offer over these past couple of years, I have to say — Calgary, I love you…but I’m not in love with you.