A city cannot be great because of what it’s close to.

It must have the stature of here and now. Greatness must be embedded in the fabric of what we see, touch, and feel as we move through the day.

We are Calgarians. And we’re not close to the mountains. We are one million people right here and now.

What makes us great? We are the sum of our parts.

Practical (I have my layers of the clothes for the day), saucy (it’s sunny and zero: shorts day! ), prudent (we don’t swallow fancy architects or $25-million bridges easily) and pollyanish (we’ve seen busts before, tomorrow will be a better day.)

So practically speaking, we’re great because of the mindset of our citizens.

We have spirited public chit chat with strangers that circles like chuckwagons, giving us warmth of community, baring our backs from the windy Prairie.

We have engineers. Lots of them. They make things work. They organize amateur sports, coach sports teams, volunteers. They get us from A to B. We can rely on them.

Calgary has more engineers than lawyers. Economically, that’s always a plus.

We can experience four seasons in one day; sun, rain, hail, snow. Calgary has meteorological drama. Mostly, the sun shines on us. A lot.

Calgary has professional sports teams. Sure, there’s Flames and Stampeders, but also the Mustangs, Roughnecks and Oval X-treme.

We’re great because the average person can get in to Flames games. The Flames reserve same day tickets, and disperse Fan Attic tickets throughout the city.

We’re high. And proud of it. The golf ball goes further in this altitude. We can drink less to get the same effect. Our summer days never end.

The City of Calgary does some things right. Think of the $30 family golf at McCall Lake. The new bike lanes on city roads, those scenic bike paths. Yes, even all day 311 service.

We’re great at being optimistic in the face of all objective evidence. Gardening? We are great with tarps.
Calgarians have more money in our pockets (don’t tell the city) because our taxes aren’t as high.

Our public school teachers are solid, often inspired.

Our library system kicks butt. A city of one million gives us great critical cultural heft, without the no-way-to-fix-it problems of mega cities.

One million people can’t be wrong. We’re not close to the mountains. What makes us great is that we’re here, and we’re now.