Our towns and cities do not function in isolation. They do not exist in a vacuum. Municipalities can learn from one another's experiences. More importantly, citizens can too.
Today I'll be interviewing Janet Voth, owner of Designing Spacez. She holds the accredited title of Canadian Real Estate Staging Specialist (CRSS) and has extensive experience in the design industry, which allows her to truly understand what her clients both want and need in order to make their house sell.
To what extent might child poverty hamper our collective future? This question is on my mind because earlier this month, the Conference Board of Canada put out a report card that gave Canada a very poor ranking on child poverty.
John Denver made me move back to Alberta. Not literally, of course, because he was dead by the time I returned to Calgary. But I hold him responsible, even though the Rockies he sang about were not my Rockies.
Every symbol has more than one meaning. Indeed, when I was contemplating the move out from the east, the perception among the locals about this City was limited. ("It's cold" "All yahoos out there" "There is nothing to do there socially" "They are not friendly over there" "It snows all the time" "There is no public transit, you have to buy a car") And none of the above turned out to be true. In fact, as I soon realized, Calgary was very much the opposite of all these notions.
Either you raise taxes or cut services to millions of Albertans. Or both. You can't make a balanced budget exist out of no where, although the Redford Conservatives have tried by calling their previous budget balanced by excluding capital funding. Skirting the fundamental problems with Alberta's governing party can only go so far and a part in government can only run around the issue for so long before reality hits.
Every society has windows of opportunity where it becomes possible to accelerate change ... Sometimes the opportunity comes about in response to negative circumstances, such as when so many women entered the workforce during the war. Other times it is in response to a unique need. Then there are times when a combination of circumstances just seems to create a fertile environment for innovation.
When Olivier Reynaud moved from Avignon to Calgary in 1999, he didn't anticipate being a pioneer. That seems to be what happens to entrepreneurs in Western Canada, however, and it wasn't long before the co-proprietor of Rouge found himself at the forefront of a local food movement in Alberta's largest city.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Calgary 2012 grow from even before its official inception.. As the project comes to a close in March of 2013, I took a moment to consider what my favourite event was. From the Sweet City Lip Dub to the Artist in Residence program, the projects implemented this year have all been unique. However, my absolute favourite event was Nuit Blanche.
What last week illustrated is that even Vancouver — not really a winter city in the common use of that title — needs to think more about our ability to handle tougher winter conditions. With the weather being less predictable, and frequency and intensity of storm events getting worse with the consequences of climate change, anticipating and designing for unusual weather conditions is going to be the new normal for all of us.
There isn't a single spot in your brain that is reserved for "the Winter Holidays," instead, you would remember the "Winter Holidays" by the smell of hot chocolate or eggnog, the sudden jingle of bells, or warmth given off by the heat of a warm fire. Memories are created and triggered by your senses. These are great activities to do in Calgary that will stimulate your senses...because you'll never know when you are creating a memory.
When questioned upon the divide between the progressive conservative values from his time in office to the conservative values of today, I heard the "has become more right-of-centre" one too many times, paired with his opinion that the party has maintained similar ideologies, thought processes and policies.
The volume of the City of Calgary official policy that supports both the concept of a pilot project and the removal of the bylaw against egg laying hens is simply enormous.
As my readers will know, with the NHL lockout seemingly without end, I've been forced to seek alternate employment.. And thus, for the viewing pleasure of the general public, I present the 10 Most Annoying and Strange Customers of The Gas Pumper:
The hardest part of that week was trying to maintain some semblance of normality in every other aspect of my life. I tell this story for one reason: to highlight the incredible resilience of those living on the streets. I was fortunate. My experience was fleeting, and yet, that brief stint of not having a place to call home impacted me greatly.
Creating capacity in municipal governance isn't really something the elves can build and throw in Santa's toy bag. It will take politicians and citizens committed to a superior democratic structure to make this one happen. It would be the best Xmas ever if Alberta embraced this exceptional opportunity to craft a truly democratic society.