25 thoughts on “Edmonton: Good Enough

  1. I think that you are being overly harsh – personally I would give Edmonton 2.0 out of 10…
    Seriously Brad – if you want to explore something that could put Edmonton on the map then let me know.

  2. If it means giving money to an already billionaire. No we are good enough. Give welfare to those that need not grab for greed.

    • The initiative to build an arena downtown came three years before any Billionaire even owned the team.

      Furthermore the money will go to construction, not to the lessor.

  3. Well said Brad. It’s time to make Edmonton remarkable, but our city is an accumulation of our citizens. So first, we need to push ourselves, each and everyone of us, to start acting in our own remarkable way, and then we can collectively make our city shine again. I’m with you. Let’s start now

    • Lawrence Decore did call us (including not only you) a “City of Champions” immediately in response to the remarkable outpouring of community spirit after Black Friday in 1987.

      But Percy Wickman announced (on John Short’s radio call-in show) that he would spearhead putting up a “City of Champions” sign at the gateway to the City in the midst of the euphoria of the Oilers’ 1988 Stanley Cup victory. This was of course immediately following the Eskimos 1987 Grey Cup victory, leaving both the major trophies of Canadian sporting history in Edmonton.

      Both had a hand in the brand.

      How incredibly interesting that you would fly to the attack without having your own facts straight.

  4. I have lived in Europe for the last decade, but prior to that I grew up and breathed Edm for 24 years. In November of last year, CBC’s radio program Q was broadcast from Myer Horowitz Theatre (http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2012/11/23/q-in-edmonton/) and one guest was Todd Babiak who told the story and character of Edmonton from his unique perspective. That interview defined Edmonton better than any sports team, landmark, piece of architecture or slogan ever could. Edmonton is a place where people make things happen, and that is remarkable.

    I echo Erick Hamdan’s comment: it is the collective work of individuals that will, and do, make Edmonton. Projects like the “Make Something” or TedxEdmonton will inspire and define Edmonton’s next ‘Grassroot’ leaps and bounds.

  5. Who are we shouting all this unconfirmed identity to? Does the world really need to be listening to Edmonton jumping up and down in the corner shouting “Look at me, look at me” We are not a desperate pre-teen hoping to fit in. We’re pretty awesome already, but maybe we need a Dove commercial or something to help us feel better about ourselves. I think we can start pushing what is already happening instead of always trying for the next big shiny thing.

    Maybe we can start by having Edmontonians (who live here now, move away and come back here, never leave here) start recognizing they want to live here – cold, long winters, potholes and all.

    Because guess what, they do – and they do for all those reasons above that you say we “used to be” recognized for. We never stopped being all those things – entrepreneur, arts, festivals, volunteers – we’re still here, still doing it. Still making waves. Ok, so those waves may not cost millions, but we’re making it happen. Do we need a logo and a slogan to help define that to the world? Do we need to borrow slogans and concepts from other cities? I don’t think so. I think we need to invest in what is happening here. Then we look at cultural tourism, employment immigration and maintaining the quality of life so people stay here.

    I moved away and came back because I have never lived in a city so open to embracing whatever crazy idea I want to do.

    All of this desperate talk about getting Edmonton a new identity makes me feel guilty for liking Edmonton for the awesome stuff it is now.

  6. What makes Edmonton remarkable is the people, not malls and arenas or stupid statues. Putting a city and it people in debt to satisfy an already billionaire, makes us look remarkably stupid.Look after our heritage,people travel to Europe to see old buildings and dwellings. New is not necessarily better. Spending money does not always equate to remarkable.

  7. Hi Brad! Don has told me a lot of good things about you – I admire your passion for our city. Sort of unrelated, and not meant in the spirit of troll-si-ness, but you should check up on the etymology of “City of Champions.” It’s commonly misunderstood to be a moniker for our city’s sports accomplishments. Actually, it’s a moniker that Laurence Decor gave our city, after our exemplary responses to the 1987 tornado!


    • Lawrence Decore did call us (including not only you) a “City of Champions” immediately in response to the remarkable outpouring of community spirit after Black Friday in 1987.

      But Percy Wickman announced (on John Short’s radio call-in show) that he would spearhead putting up a “City of Champions” sign at the gateway to the City in the midst of the euphoria of the Oilers’ 1988 Stanley Cup victory. This was of course immediately following the Eskimos 1987 Grey Cup victory, leaving both the major trophies of Canadian sporting history in Edmonton at the same time.

      Both factors clearly had a hand in the brand.

  8. Years ago when I started Connect2Edmonton, I coined a phrase that Edmonton was the city of “Gud e’nuff”…in other words, we were comfortable with the biggest small town moniker. We were comfortable with things that are OK. We had a good slate of really good festivals, with good turnout, and good returns. Edmonton wasn’t a bad city, but it was one that had reached a plateau and seemed comfortable with it.

    Truth be told, many cities get here. Resting on your laurels is an easy trap to fall into. Plus, it doesn’t disturb anyone. From what I have learned over the past 10 years, disturbing the status quo is a dangerous thing.

    Thank you Brad for writing this. Truly, we need to be removed from the dither, defer, delay, and debate mentality and finally push ahead on remarkable. I would like to keep trying. I’ve been in the change business for years, and the spark I’ve seen in the events I’ve helped create showed me that this city is hungry for remarkable.

    We just need to stop being scared of it…and the hard work that remarkable is.

  9. It wasn’t like that for the entire hundred years Brad. There was a time – albeit all too short – when we were confident in our ability to do anything we wanted, partly because our demographic was so young we didn’t know we couldn’t do whatever we wanted. We still have sparks of that that manifest themselves in everything from diabetes research to construction. If you’ll allow the pun, we need to once again “make something” of that before it’s too late.


  10. Howdy! This post could not be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Well said Brad.

    I have had jobs that took me around the world while working for my ex-employer (I have lived in Toronto, Washington, DC and Hong Kong). And now that I am back here in the city, I will tell you this…. This city in the past 10 years has deteriorated big time. Streets are in need of major repairs. Downtown looking old and tired with very little excitement.

    And it is all because people accept the good enough!!!

    Folks…When I lived in DC – downtown was dangerous, ugly, run down, etc….But guess what, there was a collective agreement that the city needed to invest in upgrading the streescape, building an arena, encouraging developers to build condos (nicely designed condos – not the cheap stuff that has littered our downtown) and the results have been magnificent. Anyone who gets a chance to visit the scary Washington DC…please take your chance and you will be blown away by the transformation that has taken place. And it was all because people were sick and tired of having to go outside their own city to enjoy a real urban life!!!

    And yes…people here would rather go spend their money in Vegas, and New York, etc….And yet these very same people are ok with mediocrity in the city. Even our top corporations are ok with mediocre. PCL the company that builds marvels across the continent chooses an ugly location in the city to showcase its head office. Stantec which engineers some of the most intricate projects in North America is happy to house its staff in a second class complex.

  12. Bravo Mr. Ferguson! Bravo! I’ve opined of late that our Gateway sign should be changed from City of Champions to City of Cheapskates! This constant fixation on potholes and snow removal is evidence our city lacks visionaries, but has an over abundance of cheapskate whiners. I was only a kid, but I remember the constant debates over whether the city needed a Convention Centre or new City Hall. Thankfully the Councils of the day had the stones to shut out the cheapskates and proceed with both signature facilities. Here’s hoping Mayor Mandel and the current Council has the same courage to get the downtown arena built.

  13. Pingback: Ferguson Settles for the Best: a Call for Edmonton’s Greatness | The Wanderer Online – The Wanderer

  14. Pingback: Edmonton Arena and Remarkable | Bruce Winter

  15. Today was a step in the right direction. City council finally approved the financing model for the new arena. It is highly unlikely that anything could derail the project now. If the arena looks even close to as good as the renderings, we’ll have a world class design, and a major catalyst to revive our downtown. Granted there have been moves in the right direction already, but I’m sure 10 years from now our downtown will look quite different both in the sky and at street level. I feel that we’ve had a tendency to over analyze things in the past, and not be willing to take enough risks. I’m especially looking forward to the new Walterdale bridge, a few of the new towers coming soon, and the LRT system finally getting people somewhere.

  16. Thank You Brad Ferguson for having the courage to post what you have.
    You are bound to receive a lot of smarmy replies from fellow Edmontonians, but it was time for someone to bring this forward.

  17. Don Iveson wrote in his blog that he will be shifting his “focus and energy to keeping this project on-time and on-budget, and to ensuring the arena and surrounding development delivers on all the promise it holds for our downtown” . Perhaps as a suggestion you may want to shift your focus and energy and that of EEDC to this new emphasis. Others have corrected you on the history behind the moniker ‘City of Champions’ so I will leave it at that.

    • Correction:

      Again, sports victories played a primary key role in the adoption of the “City of Champions” branding.

      Decore coined it on tornado response, Wickman made it official on sports victories.

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