Bonus Column: New Calgary

Hey Greg, have you heard anything about this “New Calgary” movement some Regina bigwigs are rumoured to be touting?

Marvin N.
Regina

I must admit, Marvin, that we were initially baffled by your query.

But it’s my job to answer questions about anything. So I dug a bit, and frankly, what I uncovered is really exciting.

First, some background: this is a momentous moment for Regina. For most of our history, this city’s been so moribund that a sizeable segment of our population bolted for greener pastures, with oil-rich Alberta being the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Meanwhile, the Reginans who stayed behind became bitter trolls suffering from Alberta Envy. But that’s totally understandable. (Holla at my trolls!)

Anyway, thanks to the resource boom that China and India are fueling, Saskatchewan’s economy is steaming along and Regina is now a place to “be” instead of “be from”, as the saying goes. The ex-pats are returning home in droves and the trolls are confused, running around and bumping nose-first into walls. It’s a thrilling time.

It nearly wasn’t. When things started heating up in 2006, a lot of socialists, hippies, artists and city planners talked about using our expanded fiscal capacity to build a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive 21st-century city. Fortunately, that didn’t take (partly because we fired and drove off a lot of the biggest troublemakers in the planning department in the nick of time). Aside from a (gorgeous!) downtown plaza and a planned (and very expensive!) stadium, our leaders have shown admirable restraint, even while a housing crisis blossomed!

And citizens? They’re either renters contributing to the new wealth of Regina’s beloved developers and multi-unit property owners (the long-unrecognized true heroes of our community) or they’re homeowners fortifying their nests in fortress suburbia, gorging themselves on big-ass houses in sprawling suburbs that you need the gas-guzzlingest vehicles to get to.

It’s a great time, Marv.

And I for one am glad that we’re hell-bent on recreating in Regina the Calgary that has long existed as a Mecca in our civic consciousness. Just because the world’s changed since Calgary first rose to prominence in the 1970s is no reason to reject the golden old values of reckless consumption and unsustainable planning.

Who knows? If we’re really lucky, we’ll recreate a city where the development community holds PowerPoint sessions on “How To Control City Hall”. That’ll save us the trouble of having to pay attention to city politics.

Anyhoo, Marv, to answer your question: it turns out that some Regina bigwigs aren’t content with just recreating Regina in Calgary’s image. These are the “New Calgarians” you’ve heard about. Emulating the brave seafaring Europeans who boldly named New York (after York), New Hampshire (from Hampshire) and so on, these heroes want to officially change Regina’s name to “New Calgary” so that we can further bask in Cowtown’s glory.

And then no one can ever make jokes about what our city rhymes with again.

Awesome, huh? In conclusion: go Flames! /Gregory Beatty

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