Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freedom to Create? Spirit to Achieve?

The Government of Alberta launched their new branding strategy this week. The days of the "Alberta Advantage" are gone, and we're left with a vocabulary of "dream, create, inspire, achieve, freedom, courage, determination" et cetera. All of those words which are supposed to tug on the heartstrings and make people feel good about this province.

Don't get me wrong, I love Alberta. After nearly three years, I consider myself to be an Albertan. But it's not all those motivational buzzwords that inspire me, or keep me here.

I love Alberta's dedication to large roadside attractions, like the pierogi in Glendon, the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, or the Ukrainian sausage in Mundare.

I love that back in the summer of 2006, when Ontario was all bitchy with the "who you know" to get a job, Alberta ooohed and aaahed over the experience I had. I had a job in my chosen field before I had an apartment. I had an even better job a month later.

I love how the mountains make me beam and bounce and proclaim, "oooh mountains!" whenever we're headed to Golden, or Jasper, or Banff. I like that merely seeing the foothills in the distance fills me with happiness. I love the variety of landscapes, from those mountains to the badlands in Drumheller, to my friend H's cabin on Mann Lake, to Sylvan Lake's beach.

I love that everyone here is in the same boat. Coming across a "true" Albertan is rare. There are only two born and raised Edmontonians in my group of friends. People are open to newcomers. You're able to meet real friends by going to the bar, going to work, or by joining a co-ed soccer team where you may only know one other person. You may even find friends from poaching players from other teams in your league over beer. You're able to steal friends from a boy that you dated for a month. You're able to fill your apartment with old friends, new friends, and friends-of-friends, which become your new friends by default. And when you do fill your apartment with 30 random people, everyone gets along and may end up singing Bohemian Rhapsody in three-part harmony on your balcony.

I think it's hard to move someone with words about how wonderful a place can be. You can use words like inspire, dream, create but in the end, they are just words. You have to show people. You have to get them to feel it. Not like I have any suggestions...


The Loss Adjuster said...

Explains why whenever I got to Kings/Oilers games in LA, the Oilers fans who roadtrip from Edmonton are so friggin' nice!

Elle Bee... said...

Haha. We sure are.

Kyla Roma said...

That's still better than Winnipeg's "If you weren't born here, why are you here? No... like really. I'm working on getting into the US, personally." ; )

Our Spirited Energy campaign caused a ruckus like you wouldn't believe. It was terrifying the amount of fury that slogan ended up generating. I hope you guys get through the re-branding alright!