Monday, 24 November 2008

That Fresh Alberta Air

I have just returned from 2 weeks in the Calgary region. The trip yielded food for thought on different topics, but I'll start with some observations about the place.

The region where mountains meet prairie is stunningly beautiful. I love that sense of space you get in the rolling open land, combined with the drama of the mountains in the distance.
This picture was taken along the TransCanada on the way home from a trip, getting closer to the mountains.
From just West of Calgary they are barely visible some days and loom clear on other days.
Calgary was our first Canadian home, in the spring of 1969. At the time it had about 300.000 inhabitants and the downtown skyline was just being constructed. Now it is a booming city of over a million, sprawling out into the seemingly endless prairie space around it.

The climate is awful, but they have a lot of really nice weather. That may sound like a contradiction, but it is like this: Snow is possible almost every month of the year, but Chinook winds can bring balmy days in midwinter. You never know what to expect, but overall the sun shines a lot.

Alberta is colder, dryer, sunnier and windier than most of B.C.
We always feel the difference as soon as we cross to the Eastern side of the mountains. Alberta air has a clear, crisp, invigorating tang to it in any season.

Dare I say it? The average Albertan probably works harder than the average British Columbian. B.C. is the California of Canada, while Alberta is more like Texas North. Oil, Cattle, Bible. Not necessarily in that order and of course with endless variations.

I wonder if there is a connection between that crisp air and the more vigorous work ethic? Our small village has had an influx of fresh folk from Alberta in the last few years. Like it or not, they are making things happen. That is a whole other topic for another time.

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