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Still growin': Calgary's economy and population may be booming, but the city of itinerants doesn't have much civic life--yet.



AS the after-work crowd files into Calgary's bustling Ship & Anchor pub, the eclectic mix of patrons doesn't quite jive with the iconic i·con·ic  
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or having the character of an icon.

2. Having a conventional formulaic style. Used of certain memorial statues and busts.
 images of cowboys building a frontier town or, more recently and importantly, roughnecks Roughnecks can refer to either
  • Roughneck, a term for a labourer of varying skill level in a number of industries.
  • Roughnecks (TV series), a BBC One programme about oil rig workers from the 1990s that starred Ricky Tomlinson and Ashley Jensen
 tapping the oil just below the foothills. An array of hockey jerseys--not all Calgary Flames--mixes with gothic black, charcoal three-piece suits, gay advertisements, aging hippiewear and vaguely immigrant dress. But whatever their background, the patrons all know that for a Tuesday evening in Boomtown boom·town  
n.
A town experiencing an economic or a population boom.
, the Ship is one of the few places to be.

Economic booms and busts have defined this southern Alberta Southern Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta. As of the year 2004, the region's population was approximately 272,017[1][2].  city, nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Thanks to the booms in its traditional cycle, it's taken only 112 years for the North West Mounted Police Mounted police are police who patrol on horseback. They continue to serve in remote areas and in metropolitan areas where their day-to-day function may be largely picturesque or ceremonial, but they are also employed in crowd control.  fort at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers--built to suppress the U.S. whisky trade--to grow into a city of a million souls. After every boom, a bust has inevitably followed, leaving new Calgarians scrambling to pay their mortgages until the next big chance. But an economic recession is the farthest thing from the minds of the Tuesday night Ship & Anchor crowd. Finding a pessimist in Calgary is about as easy as finding a Calgarian who was actually born here.

"People come to Calgary to work, to make money," says Mike Williston, a civil engineer originally from New Brunswick New Brunswick, province, Canada
New Brunswick, province (2001 pop. 729,498), 28,345 sq mi (73,433 sq km), including 519 sq mi (1,345 sq km) of water surface, E Canada.
, between sips of his Sleeman Cream Ale Cream ale is a style of beer which describes an American beer resembling a Kolsch, as well as a beer served with nitrogen. BJCP beer style
According to the BJCP a Cream ale or also referred to as a "creamer," is related to American lagers.
. Williston has called Calgary home for two years, his previous stops including Sacramento, Ottawa and Winnipeg. He concedes that his new base is a great place for professional opportunities--at 29, he's the project manager for several civil engineering projects throughout Alberta. And he loves the nearby Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains, major mountain system of W North America and easternmost belt of the North American cordillera, extending more than 3,000 mi (4,800 km) from central N.Mex. to NW Alaska; Mt. Elbert (14,431 ft/4,399 m) in Colorado is the highest peak. . But when it comes to culture or a vibrant nightlife, he complains, beyond the Ship & Anchor and the Beltline district's other scattered pubs, clubs and restaurants, the city sorely lacks in comparison to his previous stops. "This city is sparse, like one large suburb," Williston says, stating the obvious. The city's infrastructure--be it the light rail transit The name Light Rail Transit is used by the following specific light rail systems, either as an official name or otherwise:
  • Light Rail Transit, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Rapid KL Light Rail Transit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 and the road net, chewed up by a dozen major construction projects, or, even more, its human infrastructure of entertainment, cultural, civic and charitable networks--is lagging far behind the boom. And if the bust comes, what shape will Calgary be in?

The boom is easily quantified by reading the city's newspapers or scanning Statistics Canada figures. In the past year, the city has seen 40,000 new jobs created and its unemployment rate drop to 3.1 per cent in April. Since 1995, 7,613 head offices have moved here, a 65 per cent increase. The average house costs 50 per cent more than just last year. Calgary welcomed its millionth citizen over the summer, up 250,000 people over the past decade. Newcomers are bringing around 100 more cars daily onto already-clogged city streets. Yet, lacking workers, fast-food restaurants paying $15 per hour must close their dining rooms to keep their drive-throughs open. And every retail outlet retail outlet npunto de venta

retail outlet npoint m de vente

retail outlet retail n
 sports a "Help Wanted "Help wanted" is a request commonly made by an employer in search of an employee. It may also refer to:
  • "Help Wanted" (SpongeBob SquarePants), a SpongeBob SquarePants episode
  • Help Wanted EP, an EP from punk band Midget Fan Club
  • Help Wanted
" sign. So it's safe to say the city is enjoying almost unprecedented economic growth.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Almost unprecedented. Those already living in Calgary when the city hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games Olympic games, premier athletic meeting of ancient Greece, and, in modern times, series of international sports contests. The Olympics of Ancient Greece


Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C.
 will remember a boom that didn't last. Thanks to the OPEC OPEC: see Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC
 in full Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Multinational organization established in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum production and export policies of its
 cartel playing with the world's oil supply, Calgary was going gangbusters in the 1970s and early 1980s. But in October 1980, the infamous National Energy Program kicked in oil price controls that some estimate cost Alberta's economy $180 billion. Then the global price of oil crashed by 60 per cent in the mid-1980s, and Calgarians woke up to the fact that good times don't always last. A bumper sticker bumper sticker
n.
A sticker bearing a printed message for display on a vehicle's bumper.

bumper sticker nAufkleber m 
 then seen throughout the city begged, "Please, Lord, send another oil boom. I promise I won't piss this one away."

The Lord has sent another boom, thanks to the developing world's thirst for oil and new investment in capital-intensive tar sands Tar sands is a common name of what are more properly called bituminous sands, but also commonly referred to as oil sands or (in Venezuela) extra-heavy oil. They are a mixture of sand or clay, water, and extremely heavy crude oil.  production. And it isn't just another get-rich-quick upturn. "This boom is different. In '77, Calgary was a very different place and you would hear wild stories about some fancy bathroom shop opening up to sell gold hot and cold spigots," says Nancy Tousley, art critic Noun 1. art critic - a critic of paintings
critic - a person who is professionally engaged in the analysis and interpretation of works of art
 for the Calgary Herald The Calgary Herald is a daily newspaper published in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta . Its major competitor is The Calgary Sun. History
It was first published on August 31 1883 by Andrew Armour and Thomas Braden as
. "Almost every day I would hear about a new gallery opening." Not all of those efforts bore fruit, Tousley says, and most of those that did, didn't survive the bust that came five years later.

The big difference between today's boom and that of the seventies is the oilsands, explains Adam Legge, research and information director at Calgary Economic Development. In the eighties, he says, the focus "on the patch" was conventional oil. Today, that's vanishing, and the price has shot to record highs (though not in real money to the peaks of the eighties). This has encouraged investment in Athabasca tar sands projects, all long-term. Legge says as long as crude doesn't dip below $30 a barrel, and it won't, those projects are sustainable. And while natural gas prices are dropping, gas supply and demand are healthy. "So back in the eighties when the price of oil dropped, yeah, it was pretty easy to just stop drilling," he says. "But today, I'd say the energy industry is far more resilient than it was back in the eighties."

Growth of the Canadian economy will slow from 2.9 to 2.6 per cent next year, thanks to a weaker U.S. market, but that will only mildly affect Calgary, says Dale Orr, an economist in Toronto with the forecasting firm Global Insight. "To put things into context in Alberta: yeah, things will cool off, but Alberta will still be the source of strength in the Canadian economy," Orr says. So the chance of the boom busting is slim.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Even though commodities have followed a boom-bust cycle since the Second World War, this time round, Calgary will experience no more than a "correction," explains Bart Melek, a BMO Nesbitt Burns This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using .
 senior economist in Toronto. "I don't think there will be a bust cycle," Melek says. "And the main reason for that is pretty simple: it's China. Unlike previous cycles we have China consuming commodities at a record pace and we still have a significant portion of global growth coming from the developing world."

The boom not stalling anytime soon equals outstanding success for Calgary. "Generally speaking, the boom has assisted Calgary quite well," says Calgary's Mayor Dave Bronconnier David 'Dave' Thomas Bronconnier is a Canadian politician, currently serving as the 35th mayor of Calgary, Alberta.
Biography
Bronconnier was born on October 7, 1962.
, "in terms of transforming us from a centre that maybe isn't as well known internationally--although I always say that Calgary is the smallest international city in the world. And a lot of that has been driven by the oil and gas sector." Case in point, the politician explains, was the Oct. 23 visit to the city by OPEC president and Nigerian oil minister Edmund Daukoru Dr. Edmund Daukoru of Nigeria is the Nigerian Minister of Energy and former President of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) (2006). He is from the oil-rich Bayelsa state. He holds a Ph.D in Geology from Imperial College in London. . Yet the mayor concedes the city is having a difficult time keeping pace with the boom. "Whether it's a transportation project or whether it's arts or recreation, they've all been falling behind," he says. "I believe, though, that with all the growth, there hasn't been adequate resources going into the arts and culture component."

Culture isn't the only sector lagging. The boom has been hard on the working poor, warns Del Bannerman, development officer at Calgary's flagship Mustard Seed mustard seed

kingdom of Heaven thus likened; for phenomenal development. [N.T.: Matthew 13:31–32]

See : Growth
 Street Ministry, serving the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid. "The boom's been more difficult for low-income people--rents have been increasing tremendously, so the working poor have really taken a beating," she laments, adding that 900 apartments across the city have recently been transformed into condominiums. "There's a circle of people going around trying to find a place to live." The Seed's longtime donor base is solid, but the city's wealthier newcomers haven't yet networked into its once famed civic volunteer base.

When it comes to overall standard of living, what better indicator than the arts? asks Terry Rock, president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  of the Calgary Arts Development Authority. Rock, a Calgarian since 1998, says Calgary's art scene is highly under-appreciated. "Aside from a core group in Calgary that really understands the level of quality and the sheer inventiveness of what's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music.  ... people have the perception in Calgary and beyond Calgary that this isn't a culturally dynamic place," says Rock. In October, CADA CADA Canadian Automobile Dealers Association
CADA Capitol Area Development Authority
CADA Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists
CADA Central Area Development Association
CADA California Association of Directors of Activities (Santa Cruz, CA) 
 presented a report to a council subcommittee, comparing civic support across the country. Calgary spends $2.56 per person on the fine arts, while much-derided Edmonton spends $3.88, Vancouver $4.01, even rusting Winnipeg $5.20, and Toronto a whopping $6.42. So Rock asked city council--already stretched paying for massive new freeway construction--for an additional half-million dollars per year.

The Calgary opera The Calgary Opera is a Canadian professional opera company in Calgary, Alberta, originally known as the Southern Alberta Opera Association. It performs in the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, accompanied by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Calgary Opera Chorus. , the philharmonic and the city's half-dozen museums all have committed and generous supporter bases--for a city three-quarters its size, which it was 10 years ago. (See our story on Winnipeg theatre, page 45.) Calgary opera membership was flat over the decade, and director Bob McPhee has described the city as "slipping behind." Yet culture journalist Tousley says that while the art scene is wet behind the ears, it has grown tremendously since she arrived in 1977. The lean years of the eighties formed the artists and promoters into the resilient community they are today, she argues. "Calgary has a number of (visual) artists who show all over the country and outside of Canada. It's a vibrant and interesting community with a group of artists who've really had to stick it through, thick and thin. And you know, what doesn't kill you only makes you strong. So these guys are very strong," she laughs.

If attendance and support of the cultural scene don't match the city's population growth, some say it's because the city is so young, making comparisons to the scenes in other cities unfair. "Montreal calls itself a cultural metropolis," says CADA's Rock. "We're not calling ourselves a cultural metropolis. What we are is a young, vibrant community."

Yet "community" may be precisely what's lacking in a city where a quarter of the population has lived here fewer than ten years. People came here to work; their social relations are almost all work-based. And being young and rootless means people are too busy to join the broader social network. "I'll give you an example of what rootlessness looks like. My next-door neighbours are renovating, and the people doing their tile are living in a trailer in their driveway," says lawyer Donna Kennedy-Glans of Integrity Bridges, a business ethics business ethics, the study and evaluation of decision making by businesses according to moral concepts and judgments. Ethical questions range from practical, narrowly defined issues, such as a company's obligation to be honest with its customers, to broader social  consultant.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Part of rootlessness lies in the varied motives of people moving here. "From a spiritual point of view, there's a fine line between people moving here for improvement, or making a better life for their family, and ... moving here solely for greed," says Pastor Steve Osmond of Calgary's First Assembly Church. "That's no reason to uproot your family, your kids or whatever, just to make a quick buck." Former Ontarian Chris Prinz, a chef at the haute haute  
adj.
Fashionably elegant: "In Washington, haute gastronomy is at least as important as the national economy" Ann L. Trebbe.
 restaurant Eight, beside the Ship & Anchor, complains first that the rent increases have been sharp, his biggest indicator for the change. Yet his wages are rising just as fast. "It's shocking; five years ago, there were too many cooks ... it was hard finding a good job," he says during a cigarette break. "Now, there aren't nearly enough cooks." Yet, while his rent and wages have grown, in his eyes, the youthful city's social or cultural opportunities still lack, even compared to his native suburban Burlington.

Scottish emigre Chris O'Neill first spent a year in Edmonton, where it was "a little too flat for my Scottish blood," and then moved here last year. On the weekends, Calgary tends to empty into the Rockies, and those grand landscapes suit his passion for photography. Yet the blandness of life in a new suburban development takes getting used to. "It's been a mixed bag; for one, I'm used to a more mature city, with more of a mixture of ages," he says. Only the city's core, 20 miles away, could be classified as mature, barely--and he rarely goes there, says the University of Calgary researcher, because his work has been too busy.

In the end, the city's growing pains grow·ing pains
pl.n.
Pains in the limbs and joints of children or adolescents, frequently occurring at night and often attributed to rapid growth but arising from various unrelated causes.
 are just that--the pains of growth, says lawyer Kennedy-Glans. "I think anytime you make a transition, and you talk to anybody who relocates, it takes 18 months to two years, whether you're moving across Canada Across Canada was an afternoon program that formerly aired on The Weather Network. The segment ran from early 1999 until mid 2002. The show ran from 3:00PM ET until 7:00 PM ET.  or across the world," she says. At least that long. And the folks who move here might have to wait even that long just to find a house, let alone set down roots and build a grander society.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Western Standard
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:CITY LIFE
Author:Doll, Cyril
Publication:Western Standard
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 20, 2006
Words:2097
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