A couple weeks ago a friend from Toronto came to Calgary for a visit. I showed her all of my favorite Calgary attractions and some of its coolest neighborhoods. On the way to the airport we got to talking about Calgary. She said that although she liked it she was also a little disappointed. She explained, “Everyone calls it Cowtown, I guess I just expected more cows…or at least more of the cowboy lifestyle.”

Ever since then I have been thinking about what she said. With the Calgary Stampede only hours away, I have to ask: “How Cowboy is Calgary?”

It’s easy to say that Calgary is a western city because we have stores that sell cowboy hats and boots. We even have a racetrack for horse races, which is closing. Oh and by the way, so does every city in the Maritimes.

Besides that, as I sit here on my balcony over looking a city with growing number of Skyscrapers, what else makes Calgary a “cowtown”?

Surely a city full of cowboys would never drive Acura or Audi SUVs as they drop their kids off a private school. Cowboys would spit on the steps of stores like Holt Renfrew and Henry Singer. Real cowboys would never wear suits to work and how many of Encana’s employees do you think have ever been to a ranch, let alone ridden a horse. I can almost guarantee that a real cowtown would never sell out an upcoming Nickleback concert, wait make that TWO Nickleback concerts.

I have to be honest, just because we wear funny hats and yell yee-haw and woo-hoo for 10 days doesn’t make us a true cowtown. Hell go to Saint Johns Newfoundland and they’ll do it too. The only difference is Newfies do it everyday and we can only muster up ten.

So come on Calgary, if we are going to say we are Canada’s Cowtown lets prove it. Wouldn’t be cool if every business had real swinging saloon doors? How much more interesting would the C-Train ride be if we were all wearing real spurs? And the Calgary Flames? What about the Calgary Mad-Cows? Because I don’t know about you, but I’m way more scared of my brain melting than a little fire.

So dust off the leather chaps, saddle up the horse and look out Mission, because it’s about time we make this a real Cowtown! Now, where did I put my pink Holt Renfrew bag?

Mike Morrison


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