Sunday, February 14, 2010

We need a different, more diverse Identity

Each major Canadian city seems to be identified with something large, like a landmark. On each simplified map of major cities in Canada, you'll be able to pick them out by the landmark they're identified with. Sometimes the city will simply be the landmark. It's cool but it gets really boring after awhile.

For instance, here's a list of cities identified by their landmarks:

Toronto - CN Tower
Montreal - Olympic Stadium
Ottawa - Parliament Hill
Calgary - Calgary Tower
Vancouver - Harbor Centre + BC Place Stadium
Edmonton  - West Edmonton Mall

For this reason, it makes me wish we were identified more than with our landmarks. When people think of Ottawa they think of Parliament Hill. It's great that we're a capital city, but the problem there is the fact that we're strictly a government town, no one thinks any different, there's a lack in job diversity if you want to go far in a career, everything's bilingual (which is fine if you know both official languages, which I don't, at least fluently), everyone looks on us not as a metropolis but as a head of government, and really, it's boring.

For us, it's the head of government, which I already explained, but also largely our canal. If you think of Ottawa seriously you come up with Parliament. If you think of Ottawa in a fun way - the canal comes to mind. It's definitely not really a place for artists. My whole family is in government. I myself aren't interested, and none of my family members are going to convince me, like some have.

It's like this movie I once saw - it takes place in a mining town, where the mines are the choice for employment, and the protagonist has no interest in them then he does for astronomy. His father discourages his interests, opting for him to work in the same environment as everyone else, and even goes as far as to stop his teacher from giving him books on the subject (that or the principal discourages it). It has a happy ending where the main character grows up and has some sort of job with NASA, but still, the whole premise is still there.

The main topic is supposed to be how we should be recognized for something else for once. Enough of Parliament Hill. What about the communities? Or the other landmarks? Something that doesn't have to do with the Federal Government at least. When anyone thinks of Ottawa, it's the same as how Americans think of Washington. That's where the politics takes place. That's where the important business goes on. To refer to Ottawa is to refer to Canada's government, not the city and its suburbs.

That's what's annoying about being a capital city. Not all capital cities are the same. My aunt was telling me about Paris, and how it's full of amazing artists and architecture and history. Not politics.
Now why can't we be like that? It's too bad we don't have a national tower or something. Our tallest building is - yeah. A government complex. And even that's not very tall. That's because the tallest thing in our downtown core has to be the thing this whole post has been making reference to - the Parliament Buildings.

Thanks to the height limits, the Piece Tower has to be the tallest structure to be easily visible in our skyline. To promote the main topic here: You think of Ottawa - you see the Parliament Buildings.
All for the capital city aspect. Now I'm bored...

Justin C.

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