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The other day a fellow Calgary-based writer and I got into a little bit of a debate. The topic? What makes one a Calgarian? The question came up from earlier discussion when I had called myself a Calgarian. My peer initially scoffed at my statement.
“Um, Michael you are a Maritimer, you weren’t born here, so you aren’t a Calgarian.”
To which I replied: “But if I am not a Calgarian, how come I helped decide who would be voted into City Hall?”

This got me to thinking, while I am proud of the fact that I am from New Brunswick, at what point does it become acceptable to change your Municipal Identity? Let us look at that facts shall we:

-I moved from Fredericton, NB over two years ago.
-I have lived in the same SW apartment for 16 months.
-I hate the Elbow Drive playground zone.
-I have worked at a handful of jobs. My current full-time job even has the name Calgary in its title.
-75% of my apartment is furnished by Ikea
-I have been to a handful of Calgary Flames games, even though I’ve never won the 50/50.

Being a Calgarian is a unique experience. To have this identity many things are required of you. You must blindly love a hockey team that has really only had two truly great seasons. For two weeks in July, you must also be able to put your morals and standards of living in a shoebox and bury them under a house. Plus a true Calgarian should be able to properly explain how the “streets” and “avenue” system works. (Hint: use the Calgary Tower as your focal point, you know it’s the one cowering behind Bankers Hall) Every Calgarian has to have also been drunk at the recently departed Cowboys at least twice and own a minimum of two Cowboy hats. We must also attend the Stampede parade every year even though it seems to get longer and longer each year and also admit that the Young Canadians are perhaps the greatest “Guilty Pleasure” of all time.

After reviewing this list I have to say that I feel without a doubt that I really am a true Calgarian. While many will argue true Calgarians must have been born here, I have to disagree. If we were to follow that rule, that would mean that there is probably only a couple dozen real Calgarians. At the very most 47.

Cowtown is pretty cool. It is probably the most welcoming of Canada’s major cities. What other city would knowingly let thousands upon thousands of Maritimers drive down the Deerfoot and take your jobs. But at the same time we are pretty guillible. We are happy to work 12 hour days, because let’s face it, we are just happy to work. We will also be the first to offer a round of drinks. Why? Because in the Maritimes, buying drinks is like hugging twelve people at the same time. And who doesn’t like a hug.

So maybe we have to reach a compromise. You let us play with the idea of calling ourselves Calgarians and we’ll keep paying your crazy rents. Sociable anyone?

Mike Morrison