Friday, July 13, 2007

Mayor Mandel responds to Globe and Mail Article!

July 10, 2007
To the Editor, Globe and Mail

It's a baffling mystery to everyone in Edmonton why the Globe would choose to run picture of an open oil-sands excavation along side a synopsis of our City. Even a writer who has never been outside the city of Toronto should be able to recognize the difference between one of the world's largest industrial mining projects and one of Canada's most artistically vibrant and culturally diverse cities.

The Globe may be surprised to discover that Edmonton is in fact a cosmopolitan city with a regional population of over a million people that we're home to Canada's largest live theatre venue that we're investing over $80 million on a stunning new art gallery, that our Fringe Theatre event is the largest in all of North America, that our Street Performers Festival is considered best in the world. Our Folk Festival is internationally acclaimed, we've had a 1% public art policy on civic construction for longer than most Canadian cities, we have our own poet laureate.

Edmonton has one of the world's most acoustically-perfect concert halls, we host more than 30 festivals here, annually and yes our reputation earned us the title of Canada's Cultural Capital.

That's in addition to having Canada's highest-ranked health system, being the province's #1 urban tourist destination, being a national and international leader in "green" waste-management policies and practices and being home to the University of Alberta -- Canada's foremost research-intensive university.

Even if we focus solely on your much mentioned gay-index, note that U.S. based "OUT Traveller" ranked the Alberta capital as one of Canada's Top-Five Gay-Friendly tourist destinations "...the laid-back capital of oil-rich Alberta is a bastion of progressiveness..." it says.

What a disappointment that the Globe theoretically representing all of Canada's cities, could be so desperately less-aware of its own country than a U.S. publication.

Clearly Edmonton is not struggling to endorse or attract a creative class. Our arts and culture scene contributes to Edmonton being the epicentre of the hottest economies in the country and we celebrate that along with the success it is bringing.
Stephen Mandel,