Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Like A Good Neighbour, Edmonton is There

Yeah, so you can sing this title to the tune of a fairly well-known television jingle. And it's true, at least in my world, because I have lived in Fort McMurray for eleven years, and in that time I have become immensely fond of our neighbours - particularly the largest city closest to us, Edmonton.

I would in fact venture to say that if I were to choose to leave Fort McMurray some day Edmonton is one of the places I would consider settling down, because just as my community is magical I find Edmonton the same way. The Intrepid Junior Blogger and I have explored Edmonton pretty thoroughly, from Fort Edmonton to the Valley Zoo to South Edmonton Common to the West Edmonton Mall and many points in between. And we agree on one thing - we both love the city, and the community.

I feel at home in Edmonton, a fact made very clear to me during a recent visit. It is fun to explore new cities when visiting, of course, but there is something about returning on a regular basis to a city you know well, but not so well that there is nothing new to discover. Edmonton is the kind of place where I can still find new things, like the snowy day last year when I discovered The Remedy Cafe and whiled away my time writing, eating amazing food, and watching snow blanket the city. I have found places like the Union Bank Inn, and more shoe stores than I can name. On the most recent visit the IJB and I explored "the mall" as we call it, but on the next day we went down to Whyte Avenue, experiencing a different kind of area. We enjoyed every second of our trip, going to places familiar to us and finding new little spots, too - but Edmonton isn't just shopping or tourist attractions. Far from it, really, as Edmonton is people.

In the last couple of years while writing this blog I have had the honour and privilege to meet many Edmontonians, and those from the area around Edmonton. Some, like the effervescent Kikki Planet, have become dear friends, and some have become professional connections. Some, like Joey Hundert of Sustainival, spend time in our community and become honorary residents, bringing their skills and talent and ambition to enrich us even more. Some have become those I banter with on Twitter, or, on occasion, even argue. But what they are, in the end, is neighbours - and we could not have better neighbours than Edmonton.

Speaking of neighbours and neighbour relations, way back, almost two years ago, Kikki Planet asked me to write a piece on Fort McMurray to explain a bit about us to Edmontonians who may have never had the opportunity to visit us. It was a genuine pleasure to do this, because it came from a place of sincere affection for our neighbours to the south. I have been pleased to spend time in Edmonton as a guest of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, and through this blog I have intensified my connections in the city. So, why am I writing this blog post today, given that I normally blog about Fort McMurray and our community? Because we are neighbours, and because today Edmonton is engaged in something dubbed "CapRegionRocks", an effort to emphasize all that is great about their fine region. Our neighbours are having a little celebration, and this is my contribution to the day - because Edmonton, and the surrounding area, does rock. They have been, in my experience, the best of neighbours, and I appreciate their kindness whenever I am visiting their community. But more than that I appreciate the community in Edmonton, because I see in them so much of what I see right here in Fort McMurray - innovation, inspiration, bold ideas, potential, opportunity, and more. I see a reflection of our community, because our neighbour to the south is very much like us in almost every regard - and as they celebrate today I extend my best wishes, and my thanks - for being a great neighbour!

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