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Three reasons why I hate Calgary

I have learned to hate Calgary for three reasons. And speaking earlier tonight, at Pages on Kensington, I laid them out to an audience of book-lovers.
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.)

Ken McGoogan
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1 comment:

Anita Daher said...

I love that story about you and Richler in the bar :-) Sounds like it was a terrific visit!

Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.