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European published travel guides thoughts about Edmonton.

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  • European published travel guides thoughts about Edmonton.

    As many of you know I travel for a living, what many of you don't know is that I love to see what people say about Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton. I think I am from one of the greatest places in many ways.

    Recently I picked up numerous travel guides in the United Kingdom and Germany about Alberta and Canada's West; I was shocked by the continual down play of the Edmonton regions. From comments about the duller city to the north, to the festival city that host not much of anything. These comments have me concerned.

    What is Edmonton doing to portray itself as a holiday destination or destination of business? Being orginally from Metro Edmonton, I am proud of the city. However when I come back (I am based in Colorado) I see the lacking spirit or since or direction. What is Edmonton about? Are we a city of the next generation? You brag about a LRT, and transit system that is relished by the world in the 80's not 2000's. What really is the river valley? If we market it as one of our assets why don't we ecologically correctly develop key venues centred around it.

    Edmonton . . . who are you? To many of us you are still the mysterious post in the West that seems to grow without tremendous direction or drive. Oil has provided a target, but what are your ambitions?

    Edmonton please respond before we are down the road of the many traveled.

  • #2
    Re: European published travel guides thoughts about Edmonton

    Excellent point Brent, and a prime example of how we're perceived.

    Edmonton really needs to work on marketing a positive image to the world. Stretch the truth a bit, put out a lot of glossy brocheures, etc. Our city's marketing has NOT been stellar over the past few decades.
    LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

    Comment


    • #3
      OOOOOOH GOODIE!!! Someone posted this gem in the RANT section.... OK.


      [UBER RANT MODE ON]

      Before we even start complaining to the powers that be about their non-promotion of Edmonton, we need to do one thing LOOK AT OURSELVES!!!

      You know who I mean. All of you negative nannies who are out there whining and complaining and bellyaching about your hometown and then will do nothing about it.

      Yes, I mean you Mr./Mrs./Miss traveller. When I lived abroad, I would run into several Edmontonians that would do nothing but talk about how cold they thought Edmonton was, or how boring, or how isolated. I would challenge them to say nice things about the city, and they couldnt, or so they said. Then I let the cat out of the bag that I was an ex-pat Edmontonain and started spewing out what I thought were the virtues. You should have seen some of the reactions from ashamed acknowledgement to embarrassed resignation that their life was not so bad. I even pulled the clich, If you hate it so much, move. This was most often met with admissions that they liked it, and several said they just wanted more for the city. Well, Connect2Edmonton is here!

      The sad part is that if I did not tell them where I was from, or was really from somewhere else, that person would be left with the impression that many have stereotyped Edmonton with; cold, dull, and boring. It is no wonder that the stererotype exists.

      My favourite reaction to the challenge of telling them that I was from the Edmonton area was this answer, Well, actually, I am from St. Albert/Sherwood Park/*insert indistinguishable non descript suburban row house village here*, and my village is so much better than Edmonton. Well, watch my nostrils flare as I think that is the silliest thing one could ever say. This alone is the main reason why I could so easily rant on why regional co-operation is doomed if these attitudes make it to councils.but that is ANOTHER rant. Suffice to say, I challenged them to tell me why their little burg was so much better and distinguishable that Edmonton. To date, no one has won that battle.

      Then we get the business people who have clients come in and then lament things or ask about how they like the cold in January, about how bored they are, etc.. That really bugs me. You live here and as businesses, you are AMBASSADORS to your city. I see it daily in my place of employment and I call people out when they say this. Even recruiters, well, we have great job x, buuuuuuuuuuuuuut it is in Edmonton. Thats like saying, We have a lot of money, but you will be tortured by snowballs forever. And they wonder why they have a hard time recruiting for Edmonton?

      Then we have those business owners who need grants just to clean up their storefronts? Home owners who think the city owes them to sweep and shovel their sidewalks? The list is endless.

      The last bit is simple. We need to have more forward-thinking individuals on council and in other prominent areas. We need leaders, not those stuck in 1970 Edmonton rationale that we are nothing more than a big small town. We need to start thinking, acting, and walking like an area of 1 million people in out attitudes, our art, our civic planning, and our events. No more whining about battles long past like the airport debate but time to start looking forward and using the tools and our windfall of money to our benefit.

      Simply put, how can we go after these magazines when we dont take care of ourselves or promote ourselves?

      [/END UBER RANT MODE]

      So Edmonton, what will it be? Mediocrity and whining, or taking this bull by the horns and racing forward?
      President and CEO - Airshow.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good rant Richard, I agree - there is still far to much negativity, internal quarrels and flat out ignorance by many Edmontonians, which really props of the sometimes poor (and incorrect) image of the city.

        Even after how far things have come in the city, I am still amazed to come back to Edmonton and having to explain to people silly things like "Just because we dont have a regular flight to Europe like Calgary, that doesnt mean our airport lost its International status", or convincing them that "yes the stores and restaurants downtown are indeed open on Saturdays and Sundays!".

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        • #5
          Wow!

          I knew Edmontonians were down on themselves but I am shocked to hear that they would trash talk their own city on their travels. It's akin to treason!

          Even here in Edmonton I often hear stupidity from the mouths of Edmontonians. Like if I overhear a conversation between a long time Edmontonian and a new Edmontonian. The long timer will invariable ask with astonishment "why did you come here?" while making the "are you stupid?" face.

          I for one am proud to say that I've lived in two different countries and 4 different cities and 3 different provinces in Canada and I always wanted to come back to Edmonton. Now that I'm here I plan to stay for good. I love this city and I love how it has grown and matured. It's not Vancouver, it's not San Francisco, it's not Paris or New York, but it's a damn fine million strong city with world class venues, all the shopping your heart desires, a booming economy, the best health care in the world, an educational system that's the envy of every other district in North America and the best summer festivals in the world.

          Why is it so damn hard for some Edmontonians to sing the praises of their own home town? They are ripping up the seats while the rest of us are trying to upgrade the engine and it pisses me off.

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          • #6
            ^ I am not sure what you are stating by "trash talk their own city on their travels". I wasn't doing that.

            Edmonton needs to find is self. I love the city, it has much to offer. However because of its continue self pity it doesn't look forward as a whole.

            Because Edmonton is a fairly new city they need to start setting roots and finding ways to tell the world what they are about. What are some characteristics that Edmonton has to boost? First to my mind is Alberta's North, the River Valley, Festivals, and Jasper.

            If Edmonton doesn't sort these identities out they will be just as the travel guides portrayed . . . drab.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Brentk
              ^ I am not sure what you are stating by "trash talk their own city on their travels". I wasn't doing that.
              I know you weren't trash talking Edmonton. I was referring to a line from RichardS post.

              When I lived abroad, I would run into several Edmontonians that would do nothing but talk about how cold they thought Edmonton was, or how boring, or how isolated

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              • #8
                Sorry man, I was confused.

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                • #9
                  Sorry man, I was confused
                  No prob.

                  I agree with you that we should be promoting our river valley but I really believe that before we do that we need to make it a more interesting place. Right now it's just a valley that could exist in the middle of nowhere and it wouldn't be much of a tourist attraction out there so why would it be any different in the city?

                  We need to give people a reason to go down there other than jogging and cycling. We need cafes and restaurants. I believe Louise McKinney park is intended to be the start of that but I'll believe it when I see it.

                  It just needs to be a fun place to hang out. Kind of like Vancouver's Granville Island.

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                  • #10
                    I agree. Making the River a destination is important.

                    I think Edmonton's first needs are:

                    Making Gateway/Calgary Trail a clean, pleasant blvd. Have that continued to downtown. A lot of business people do not leave the main arteries of Edmonton, and right now they are not nice.

                    Second work on our river valley/and festivals that surround it.

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                    • #11
                      This is interesting, in which I've been trying to discern how the dichotomy in attitudes can be identified and vocalised so it makes sense:

                      Keep in mind, I am not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers. In another thread, discussion of brandnames and familiar restaurants and the such are being touted as necessary for downtown. Yet this thread is confronting our lack of identity and we seem to agree that the city needs to "find itself."

                      It's not just restaurants, either, but business and creativity in general. It comes down to the people of the city, who are often unwilling to be risky, to try out new things, to explore. How do we inspire our own citizens to explore their own city, rather than relying on the safety of the mass-advertised familiarity of mega-branded Banana Republic and restaurants such as Moxie's? If the city won't know itself, it will never have the confidence to identify itself.

                      The power to become more lies in the people, not in any marketing campaign. But the people here have to be willing to put a little faith in their city, their neighbours, and step outside of their "dull" little boxes. As far as I can see, this exemplifies the reviewer's definition of dull: a city comfortible in its own tastes and lifestyles being defined by large corporations. Businesses will stop taking little risks because there are no people here to support them, out of a fear of removing themselves from the familiar.

                      No risks = No character, no changing, no defining, no discerning between what is us and what is not us. If the majority of Edmontonians define themselves through manufactured answers to personal questions — through the Banana Republics and the Moxies and the Bounce radio stations — then we really don't have our own language, our own citywide vernacular to call our own.

                      Then we are, by definition, dull: Boredom is a reactive state of feeling wearingly dull, repetitive, or tedious stimuli: suffering from a lack of interesting things to see, hear, or do (physically or intellectually)…

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        wow.

                        Let me digest that for a while...

                        o.k. good stuff. Can I sum up your rant by saying there are not enough risk takers in Edmonton which limits this city's ability to forge a unique identity? I wonder though if it is not so much a city issue as it is a numbers issue.

                        I'm thinking that in any city, whether big or small, the number of people willing to try something new and unknown is a percentage of the population. If 5% of Edmonton's population are risk takers then that's not as big a crowd as 5% of New York City's population. We don't have a lot of people willing to try something new because we just don't have a lot of people.

                        Maybe it's not a city thing, it's just a numbers thing.

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