Each month Open Skies features an 'Our Man In.....' article (sorry, the gendered title isn't mine) focused on a different city within their network - or in Edmonton's case their partner airlines' networks. (Emirates recently signed a codeshare agreement with Westjet.) Past features have covered the likes of the couture culture of Paris, São Paulo's edgy nightlife and the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Set along side that last one, a feature on Oiltown, Alberta makes perfect sense.
Here's what I came up with. And here's the actual article. You can also find it on the Open Skies website.
Our Man In Edmonton
Canada’s oil capital is one of its most paradoxical cities
You can tell a lot about a place from its traffic – and the capital city of Canada’s second westernmost province is no exception. On any given Friday night, Jasper Avenue – Edmonton’s main nightlife artery – is choked with brand-new pickup trucks driven by newly well-to-do blue collar men in their early 20s. Some are there for on a break from the northern oil and gas boomtown of Fort McMurray.
Others work downstream from the oil sands in ‘Refinery Row’ in the eastern suburb of Sherwood Park. All, however, have come to symbolise the ever-growing affluence of Canada’s ‘Oil Capital’ – a laissez-faire city where just about anything goes, provided you don’t criticise the oil sands.
|It's all about this stuff here.|
Unsurprisingly, international criticism of the province’s energy industry has become a decidedly sensitive matter. And nowhere is this truer than in Edmonton, a city whose mercurial economic fortunes have paralleled those of Alberta’s oil industry, and whose growing stature has in large part been made possible by the scarred, oil-rich real estate to the north of the city.
Renowned Canadian humourist and Calgary native Will Ferguson once described his fellow Albertans as “a hospitable bunch as long as you don’t push your luck.” Nowhere does this better apply than to Edmonton – an oddly high-brow yet fundamentally blue collar metropolis where a live-and-let-live spirit prevails, so long as the city’s sacred economic cow is accorded its due respect.