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Parker’s Pen – June 2024     

I really must comment on the city’s new Blue Sky City brand. Perhaps not the best timing, as at time of writing the forecast is more spring snow and we have been under nothing but clouds for a couple of days. 

I’m not too impressed, as no matter what the supporters said at the unveiling it’s a bit foggy to me. And I don’t understand the goody-goody explanations like, “It resonates with the city’s diversity and changing dynamic.” 

My biggest beef though, is the published cost of $4.8 million over four years. Really? 

I didn’t agree with the last Be Part of the Energy brand, not because of the reference to the beaten-up oil and gas sector, though Energy can also be used to describe the pulse of this city, but it was the awful graphics that upset me. 

Back to the former Heart of the New West that was unveiled around 2003. It was the result of very, very inexpensive but exhausting research by Kim McConnell and his team when he was running Parallel Agency. It said we had Heart – a nice, comfortable word; New – in that the city was progressive; and West – our history, the all-important Stampede and the backdrop of the mountains. 

Just can’t imagine someone in Dusseldorf saying, “Let’s go to Calgary for a holiday, they have blue sky.” 

But the decision has been made and despite more money needed to put the brand on all the marketing materials and signage, let’s get behind it and apply it in the best way to make things happen. Use it. 

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And on a related note, I was wondering why it has taken six months to find a suitable replacement for Cindy Ady who announced her retirement as CEO Tourism Calgary on November 8. Big shoes to step into but looks like we’ve got the right person in Alisha Reynolds, formerly with Northland Properties. She takes over what must be a plum job, what with the Stampede, Spruce Meadows, the Rockies – and of course the blue sky. 

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Will doubling the fine for driving too fast through playground zones really have an effect? Seems to me that the people who ignore signage now, including hardly slowing down at stop signs and parking for a quick moment under a handicap sign, will probably still just take their chances. 

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As we see the demolition of Eau Claire Market, I can’t help but think back to the grand opening dreams 40 years ago when Alderman Ray Clark announced it would become Calgary’s own Granville Island. Never made it but we look forward to a new, exciting development at last. 

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Another voice from that era is former Alderman John Schmal – correct title back then – who has never stopped trying to improve his city. 

His call was to suggest that now our glorious BMO Centre is open, why not a deal between transit and the downtown hotels to extend the free LRT zones for visitors to get them out to the Stampede grounds. 

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Final Words: I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.