My Name Is Edmonton....

An open letter

I'm not stupid, I know that some of you don't exactly like me. I know that some of you even hate me. I once overheard some guy on Whyte tell me to go fuck myself! Maybe he just got kicked outta some bar or his girlfriend just informed him that he's a dumbass or something, who knows? I've heard it all before, and I promise you that it doesn't hurt my feelings...all the time. 

Remember when Mordecai Richler said I was the "boiler room" of Canada in a 1986 essay for the New York Times, or when British reporter Robert Philip unfairly dubbed me "Deadmonton" in 2001? I was heartbroken, a little confused, and sort of pissed off! How dare these guys say these things about me when they haven't even given me the chance to prove myself. Sometimes, I think that people say things just to get me going. Maybe that's a good thing! 

But, to be completely honest, those things were said years ago and maybe they weren't too far off on a few of their remarks and assessments, but that was then and this is now. 

I am what I am and I am proud of what I've become - a place of opportunity and community, a place where anyone is welcomed and supported, a place with a stretch of green ribbon so charming that folks can't stay away from it even at thirty below. 

Oh, and I'm a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself, putting together dishes that could easily compete with the best of the best in the country, like my renowned pastrami pork cheeks or hand-made goat ricotta with rosemary oil and crostini, or even those tasty little green onion cakes people are always bragging about. I've been pretty good in the kitchen for awhile now, although it seems that most people are only now appreciating my cooking chops. 

I can show you a good night out too, if you prefer; maybe some drinks and dancing, or perhaps we can sit back and request songs from the dueling grand pianos all night long? Honestly, I'd be just fine taking you to a hockey game, a concert, or an old movie from the golden age of Hollywood, with Katherine Hepburn or James Stewart, maybe. I love those guys. Then we could take a stroll across the bridge with all the pretty lights, and find a place to lay down and stare at the clear skies above. 

On the weekend, I throw some pretty good parties for which people come from all around to experience. The Fringe and K-Days are my personal favourites, and I always get an unbelievable turnout, rain or shine. 

But it's the people that I cherish the most, over anything else I can think of. They are full of dreams and ideas, and they love to share and help out where they can. They are kind and generous, and love talking me up. They're smart, funny, talented, passionate, humble, and admirably loyal. What more could I possibly ask for?!

They appreciate me, and I appreciate them. I hope they know that. Why do I appreciate them, you ask? Well, why not! They keep my spirits up when times are tough, telling all their friends from other places how beautiful and welcoming I am. When something is broken or not right, they get right to work to make sure it's fixed. And most importantly, they've given me the ability to realize my true potential, despite all those folks who underestimated my worth and what I could be if they just gave me a chance. 

Sure, I'm not perfect, but who is? I notice that some people start getting angry with me when November or December rolls around, when they have to start wearing layers and warming up their vehicles in the mornings. I wish I could do something about it, but I can't. Fortunately, that's around the same time that the Oilers and Christmas get underway, so they tend to forgive me. 

To be honest, that's always been the biggest complaint about me, the wintertime. I keep thinking to myself, you haters have it pretty damn good here. I mean, look at the tsunamis, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, wildfires, smog, heat waves, viral outbreaks, food shortages, extreme poverty, dictatorships, corruption, crime rings, mass shootings, terrorism attacks, Kardashians, and ongoing wars that plague so many other places around the world.

I mean, there was that tornado here that one summer, but that was a long time ago. I simply don't have to deal with all those other kinds of disasters and tragedies, just those cold winters and maybe the occasional pothole. 

Not all of you are going to like me, I get it, but all I ask is that you at least give me a chance to prove myself. It won't take much time, and I promise that I will make you remember me, in a good way! And although I have a million things going on right now, I will find the time to make you fall head over heels in love with me. I promise. 


P.S. I have attached a #selfie! 

- Edmonton


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