OK, pop quiz! Would you rather live in: A) Canada’s smartest and most cultured city? or B) The world’s most livable city — currently the featured locale of the ABC series The Bachelorette?
According to Maclean’s, our alleged national magazine, Calgary is Canada’s smartest and most cultured city. But according to the Economist, a loftier read all around, Vancouver is, once again, the world’s most livable city, right up there with Vienna, Melbourne and … Toronto?
Calgary is in fifth place, livable perhaps, but not as livable as Toronto, which, as we all know, is not even a nice place to visit.
Anyone who has been to Calgary or Toronto realizes that Canada’s smartest people reside in Vancouver, especially this spring, when the weather has been nothing short of spectacular.
Smart as we Vancouverites are, we’re even smarter in January and February, when in Calgary and Toronto, the temperature actually goes below zero. In Vancouver, snow is a recreational option, along with golf, sailing, or quaffing Final Rose Cocktails with our Bachelorette dates.
So what’s with Maclean’s? Have those people even been to Vancouver? A closer look at the magazine’s principal criteria governing smartness and culture makes the whole exercise suspect. Calgary spends more money on culture and is growing faster (when you’re No. 5, you try harder). So really, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t have as much to do with intelligence as throwing money at things, which is the only thing Calgary is really good at. That and eating a lot of meat.
Of course, since the economy collapsed, Calgary’s meal ticket has diminished in value, so we’ll see how smart and cultured it is next time around.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Jillian Harris, this season’s Bachelorette, has led her suitors on a merry chase around town, captivating seven million viewers. The Whistler episode airs Monday. No word yet on a Toronto or Calgary episode.
If there is still any doubt in the minds of ex-Calgarians looking for someplace to park their Broncos, The Economist polled 140 cities, using 30 criteria. Vancouver came out on top with a score of 98 per cent. As we did the last time The Economist published its livability survey, in 2007. Exhaustive. Conclusive. Slam dunk.
So, Vancouver, raise your Final Rose Cocktails and make a toast to yourself: There’s no place like home!