The first is Naheed Nenshi. We were here when Calgarians elected this brilliant, charismatic leader to a second four-year term. Meanwhile, Toronto has yet to rid itself of a certain Mortifying Blowhard. That alone would be sufficient.
The second reason is Calgary’s C-Train. It’s an LRT system that runs like a dream. It is precisely what Toronto needs out Scarborough way. Instead, the city has opted for a radically inferior and more expensive system. More smart versus stupid.
The third reason is the public swimming pools. Here in Calgary, they are everywhere. They are clean and they are half empty. Swimming in Toronto is like something out of The Hunger Games.
Nenshi, the C-Train, the amenities. All hard to forgive. On the other hand, the Herald ran that intelligent piece. The CBC Homestretch did a great interview. And I saw lots of friendly faces at Pages on Kensington.
And then I saw a few more at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. This Edwardian edifice opened in 1914, and is named after Captain John Palliser, who explored the Canadian west in the late 1850s. The Palliser, as it was called originally, was the brainchild of William Van Horne, general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway. “If we can’t export the scenery,” he declared, “we’ll import the tourists.” Somewhere, I have a photo of me and Mordecai Richler, sharing a drink in the bar. My hatred is not unmitigated.
(The photographer here is Sheena Fraser McGoogan.)