Toronto transplant John Rose now Edmonton's economics guru
After spending seven years abroad with Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department and more than two decades with some of North America’s largest consulting firms, John Rose had an epiphany.
It was early 2010, he was in his late 50s, his marriage was over, his children had grown up. His house had grown quiet. “Basically, I woke up one day and the nest was empty. I’d been in Toronto for 23 years and I thought, ‘What am I doing here?'”
“So I started looking around for other opportunities. Then I saw this ad for the City of Edmonton and I thought, well, I’d been consulting to municipal and regional governments for decades, so maybe it would be nice to be on the other side.”
Rose promptly applied for the post. In May 2010, he was named the city’s chief economist.In short, this well-travelled Toronto transplant has become the most respected and knowledgeable voice on what makes Edmonton’s economy tick and where it may be going.
“When I first came here, people would always say Edmonton is a blue-collar town. But this isn’t a blue-collar town, this is a white-collar town. It’s a town full of medical specialists, academics, engineers and professional people who export their services globally.
“Yes, there are guys out there bending metal, lots of them. But this isn’t just a working class community that does nothing but serve the oilpatch. This is a different kind of place. I think we have a much more nuanced story to tell than Calgary, which is really about the energy industry.”He also sees Edmonton as an attractive destination for those who have been priced out of the red-hot Toronto and Vancouver markets.