When this month’s edition of Avenue’s “Calgary’s 15 Best Neighbourhoods” was released, I secretly hoped the popular publication would challenge itself to write about other neighbourhoods besides the ones that can afford the houses advertised on its pages.
Instead, uber-expensive, uber-exclusive and uber-pretentious Elboya, Rosedale and Altadore all received top honours. I conducted a little survey and precisely zero per cent of the people I asked were surprised.
Obviously, the magazine has a specific demographic to which it should appeal, but it doesn’t mean it gets to be lazy. Couldn’t anyone write a story about the “Best Neighbourhoods” in Calgary? These areas have lawns and driveways and enough traffic-calming circles to make a clown dizzy. These neighbourhoods don’t need to be told they are the best in Calgary, they already know it.
I’ve lived in some of the neighbourhoods that Avenue drools over. As places to pay rent, they have all been great, but the article makes no mention of the regular break-ins or the vomit I found on my lawn after every weekend. Turns out, rich people get drunk, too.
While places like Inglewood, Sunnyside and Hillhurst all have wonderful aspects about them, they aren’t perfect. After searching on the Calgary Police Crimes Web Mapping application, it seems in the past couple of months there is hardly any community in Calgary that hasn’t had its share of assaults, break-ins, etc.
So why leave other areas like Forest Lawn out of the mix?
Forest Lawn seems to be the Belinda Stronach of Calgary neighbourhoods. Everyone is terrified to go there and no matter what it does, it has a bad reputation that goes with it. But is it really that bad? Just like Elbow Park has needles hiding in its perfectly groomed grass, Forest Lawn has its challenges, too.
However, there are great things going on in this neighbourhood. Recently, we’ve all watched independent businesses struggle along 17th Ave., Kensington Road and 4th Street SW. Yet, areas like Sunalta and Forest Lawn are home to hundreds of independent business owners who are the first ones we call when something is wrong with our car, when we’re looking for great antiques or when our house starts leaking.
We don’t have to love neighbourhoods like Forest Lawn or Sunalta, but we have to respect them. Instead of alienating so many communities, Avenue Magazine should ask Calgarians to expand our horizons to visit different places and meet new people.
Who knows, maybe we could find a new great place to eat, or an awesome dog park. At the very least, maybe we could find a Tim Hortons that doesn’t have a line.