Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

From T.O. to Cowtown

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Having lived and worked in Toronto for most of my life. Then moving and working to Calgary 6 months ago, I can give a pretty good review of both cities.

You can’t compare either city because it’s apples and oranges. Toronto is bigger, more densely populated has more night life, vibrancy, culture and social activities because of greater population and longer history. Another difference is humidity, dry vs. moist. Dry air and chinnoks make winters bit tolerable, and you don’t sweat in summers.

Calgary is young, and modern city that is in growing stages and establishing an identity. Hands down Calgary has more corporate growth opportunities (less competition and entrepreneur spirit) and friendlier people. Though winters are longer and colder, and there’s urban sprawl I believe Mayor Nenshi know and has what it takes to make this city more livable.

Calgary has lower taxes, but cost more for services and eating out. It’s much cleaner and has more parks and access to biking compared to Toronto. Pay is higher, but housing cost is almost as expensive as Toronto. Surprisingly Calgary is very diverse and less red neck than I envisoned. Heck walking downtown, it’s like Toronto with diverse group of transplants and immigrants migrating here for opportunities.

If you like city life with more arts, night life then Toronto is the choice. If a smaller city that offers outdoor lifestyle and beautiful parks and mountains then Calgary is the place to be.

Sent by Elton from Toronto

Melbourne vs Vancouver vs Portland???

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Hi there. My husband and I are tossing up between Melbourne/Vancouver/Portland as a next possible long-term move (in the next couple of years). Each has pros and cons it seems, and we tend to go round and round in circles, never quite sure which city is the best choice for us. So I thought why not put the question to all you intrepid globe-trotters out there who may have experienced one or more of these cities to ask what you think? I summarise below what my husband and I think distinguishes these cities based on their perceived pros/cons – I welcome your opinion on whether you agree or not with these assumptions:

MELBOURNE PROS – Progressive and open towards difference; Curious and enjoy debate; Relatively low crime; Pedestrian friendly and great public transport; Cultural/literary scene; Good job opportunities (our backgrounds are in public sector and writing/ psychology).

CONS – Major water and sustainability issues; Rising crime?; Anti-Indian/Muslim sentiment?; Expensive rental options.

VANCOUVER PROS – Progressive and open towards difference; Pedestrian friendly with great public transport; Relatively low crime; OK economy/jobs.

CONS – Too politically correct/afraid of conflict and debate; Tame to point of slightly boring?; Expensive rental options; High cost of living; Cultural/literary scene not as good as Melbourne/Portland?

PORTLAND PROS – Progressive; Pedestrian friendly and great public transport; Great cultural/literary scene; Low crime; Good cheap organic produce; Rental options cheaper than Melbourne/Vancouver?

CONS – No jobs; Culturally homogenous by comparison

Sent by Kaye

What’s Edmonton Like?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

I am headed to Colorado for law school and have the option of pursuing a dual-degree program with the University of Alberta in Edmonton. This would mean two years in Boulder and two in Edmonton, as opposed to the typical three in Boulder.

Does anyone have any information concerning the transportation infrastructure, quality of life, etc. of Edmonton? What about the U of A? I’m okay with cold, as I’m originally from upstate NY. I would prefer not to have to own a car.

Sent by Zach from Edmonton, Alberta

Ottawa – The Place for Creative Talent

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Ever since I moved to Ottawa to attend University, I had unknowingly surrounded myself with some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Attending networking events through the Telfer School of Management has opened my eyes to Ottawa’s diverse business leaders and has inspired me to become a committed contributor to the local business community. As a start, I joined the city’s TalentBridge program, an organization committed to developin g and nurturing local talent. TalentBridge gives Ontario’s young talent an opportunity to work closely with Ottawa based SME’s in various areas of business. Through this program, I was able to join a local tech company (Seregon) and showcase my skills and abilities in an area open to creativity and a new way of thinking. Being connected to TalentBridge and its members has also allowed me to contribute to ‘Creative Ottawa’ by developing initiatives to harness local talent and become the next wave of leaders in the city. The City of Ottawa has given me more opportunities, both personal and professional, than I had ever imagined. If you are looking for a place where the city embraces creative talent and encourages you to put it to work, Ottawa is the city for you.

Sent by Colin from Ottawa

Halifax – Much more than Boston-north or San Francisco West

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

halifaxThe more I travel to the great cities of the world the more I realize there is nothing quite like Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our homegrown arts, film, music scene springs up like unkempt wildflowers. We’re a city of hippies, government, bankers. A city of history and modernity. A city of beautiful architecture and bland sprawl. A city of plans and chaos. A city of sailors, students, and scoundrels. We’re not the biggest. We’re not even the best. But there’s nowhere I’ve seen that is quite like this place.

Sent by Paul from Halifax

Kelowna, BC Over-hyped?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Aside from Okanagan Lake and slightly better shopping than the other BC “K” town Kamloops (or as the locals call it “The Loops”) this place is rather overrated. Due to all the time shares, there really isn’t an onus toward new developments. I still have to go to Vancouver to see a specialist, and what constitutes as “bike paths” are just a lane along HWY 97 next to heavy traffic.

Sent by Crystal from Kelowna, British Columbia

The Heart of the Ottawa Valley

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Nestled on the shore of the mighty Ottawa River, Pembroke is the largest regional centre between Ottawa and North Bay. Just an hour and a half from Canada’s capital, it has a unique, rich cultural heritage, as it was settled in the early 1800s by tree prospectors looking for tall pines to use as masts for her Majesty’s fleet of tall ships. That exploration brought people from England, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, France and Germany – and they brought with them their unique music and dance – particularly, the easily portable fiddle. Today, that music rings throughout the city every Labour Day Weekend at the Old Time Fiddling and Step Dancing Competition that attracts musicians and afficionados of traditional music, from all over Canada and the U.S.

Pembroke is unique in Canada, and local people speak with a “Valley” accent, a mix of the first settlers languages. The creative talent is amazing in this area, and with the addition of broadband, it means that many more of our youth are choosing to stay home, while able to work anywhere in the world from their laptops. As a regional centre, there has been huge infrastructure investment recently (for a city with a population of 15,000 and a CMA of 74,000) Algonquin College is getting a new campus starting in 2010; the hospital has almost doubled in size and is now a regional health care centre with telecommunications link to CHEO and the Ottawa Heart Institute; the Superior Court House has undergone major expansion and award winn! ing reno vations; and the French School Board has built a new K-12 school and community centre.It’s a small, friendly city, a national Communities in Bloom winner, and one of the best places in Canada to call home!

Sent by Susan from Pembroke, Ontario


Monday, August 10th, 2009

morning-view-1If you appreciate and enjoy a simple, active lifestyle, Sudbury is the place to be. 4 seasons of events, sports and culture make it a vibrant small city on the edge of the boreal forest. Hiking, fishing, boating, canoeing, climbing, skiing, snowmobiling are all accessible fromj your back door. The landscape is stunningly beautiful, contrary to popular belief. The photo shows the view from my backyard, on Long Lake, which is a 10 minute drive to the main shopping district in town. There are hundreds of similar small lakes and rivers in the city limits where clusters of suburban and rural communities develop. Laurentian University is located overlooking gorgeous Ramsay Lake and attracts students from around the world to its small classes and bilingual programmes.

The downtown is not great now, but is being revitalized with a new million school of architecture opening in 2013. Spinoffs from this bold move will be fantastic as young people bring new ideas and energy to these old downtown streets. The city has many significant cultural and government institutions including a major research hospital, Science North and Dynamic Earth science centres, the world-class Neutrino Laboratory, a very important film festival and thriving arts, music and theatre scene. A small food scene is emerging, as well as a strong environmental and ecological approach to innovation, technology and tourism. I relocated here from Toronto to be closer to family and do not miss the big city at all, especia lly when I can go for a swim or a ski on the lake at 6pm after getting home from work, or paddle my canoe to be closer to the loons on the water.

Sent by Pierre from Sudbury, Ontario

My Hamilton

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I moved to Hamilton in 2004, from Toronto. Born and raised in the east end of Toronto; but after 50 years, I saw the destruction of its history and grand structures, for the sake of profit. We know if there is no trace of where we came from, we cannot truly move forward. It could have been much more than what it is.

Hamilton is rather hidden from those that pass it, by the thousands, on the nearby Burlington Skyway bridge. From the Skyway, it seems dominated only the chimneys of the steel industries. The city beyond is a vast lush, green area, populated by fabulous older, solid, well-designed brick houses, from the turn of the last century. It has over 100 documented waterfalls. In the first months of shopping at the local super markets, I noticed many over-flowing containers for local food banks; a similar generosity, I never witnessed in Toronto. Apparently Hamilton does not have an affluent reputation, but it is obvious to me that generosity is very much a part of Hamiltonians. My small two-story brick house is near a very large, beautiful public park. It is very similar in street-scape and house styles to the Beaches in Toronto, but one third the price. It seems to me, Hamilton still has a visible architectural heritage that Toronto lost over the past forty years. This town is great, and I foresee a varied, strong and diverse community, rising from what used to be only a steel town.

Sent by Doug from Hamilton


Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

080701iAs an immigrant from the US who chose Fredericton, I was both surprised and pleased to see its ranking, especially as regards gay and lesbian families. We visited Winnipeg, Kelowna, Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, and Fredericton and we *chose* Fredericton. Over the course of the past year, many locals, hearing this, have said, with a hint of disbelief, “Why Fredericton?” When we describe what was appealing – the size, the recreational opportunities, two universities, the seat of government, cost of living, etc., they invariably respond with something like, “Oh, yeah…” as if once reminded it was a no-brainer. That being said, there have been some ENORMOUS challenges re New Brunswick. This is a province with low self-esteem, if that makes sense. it’s virtually impossible to get a family doctor and Irving owns the province (e.g., media, oil, lumber…). But, Fredericton, as a city, is wonderful. The only thing we really miss – having come from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/Saint Paul – is the diverse array of wonderful restaurants!

Sent by Melissa from Fredericton