I guess it’s true that everybody loves a parade. At least that’s the way it seemed Thursday, given the number of spectators along the parade route.
The comments that follow are in no way meant to disparage the hard work of those who made this parade a success. It brought smiles to the faces of young and old alike and that is a good thing. However, the parade had a small town feel to it. And not in a good way. It wasn’t in keeping with the big city we have become. There’s no reason why Edmonton can’t have the biggest, best, most exciting parade in Western Canada.
The problem with the Capital Ex parade is that it has no anchor that makes it a unique celebration. Right now it’s a celebration of nothing. At best, it’s the kickoff to mini doughnuts, elephant ears, midway rides and ancient rock stars in need of defibrillation before they go on stage.
I think it is generally accepted that Capital Ex is an abysmal name. If that’s the best Northlands can come up with, it’s not surprising that Daryl Katz doesn’t want it involved in running any new arena he is a part of.
As much as the Calgary Stampede has been maligned of late due to dead horses and malfunctioning midway rides, it’s a celebration of Calgary’s real or imagined heritage. There’s no doubt it has a recognizable and valuable brand because of that.
When I first came to Edmonton, we had a parade that celebrated Klondike Days. Our ties to the Klondike are tenuous at best, but at least it was a recognizable theme. I’m not advocating a return to Klondike Days. Its death was due to natural causes. But I do think we need a theme that ties our parade into our city’s past in some way.
So what do you think might be a good theme? Pioneer Days might be a good idea, but one that is perhaps overworked. Settler Days is also a possibility. Or we could look at Fort Edmonton as a theme.
Using Fort Edmonton and Fort-des-Prairies would give us lots of things to celebrate: The Hudson’s Bay Company; trappers; the native heritage of the city; the coureurs de bois; Marie-Anne Gaboury.
The list of things to celebrate is a long one. Let’s create a parade that will put this city on the map.