by Stacey Perlin

    Running Down a Dream of Prairie Culture

    Alberta’s culture maintains, engages and enriches the lives of people, whether you’re passing through, a permanent resident or somewhere in between. The transitory situation is the case, more often than not, as a large portion of the population on any given day are temporary workers and visitors taking in the multitude of award galas, festivals, competitions, conferences and conventions that happen throughout the year. Giving the glittery impression that Alberta, to the outside world, looks like a busy year-round carnival in the urban areas and a natural wonderland only minutes outside the cities’ limits.

    While our geographic and economic factors tend to define the values of those living in Alberta, celebrations take up a key part in the local culture. Albertans are so practiced at putting on spectacular events and combining them to promote communities, business, technology and the arts—that the world has taken notice again.

    The city of Calgary is the designated Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012, an achievement that marks the centennials of Calgary Stampede, City of Calgary Recreation, Calgary Public Library and Theater Junction Grand and Pumphouse Theaters. Running Down a Dream of Prairie Culture By Stacey Perlin The city of Edmonton was awarded this honour in 2007, another “fact” that adds to the good-natured rivalry between the two metropolises. This rivalry is most evident in the matches happening between their National Hockey League teams, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers; their Canadian Football League teams, the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders; and their National Lacrosse league Teams, the Calgary Roughnecks and Edmonton Rush.

    However, there are also a multitude of festivals, programs and events shared between the provincial capital of Edmonton and its ambitious, municipal relative, Calgary, to the south. For concert music and theatrical performances, the Epcor Centre for the Arts and Jack Singer Hall (in Calgary) and the Francis Winspear Centre (in Edmonton) have amazing events throughout the year. Outdoor festivals such as Sled Island in Calgary and Edmonton Folk Festival are the largest independent music festival and folk music festivals in Western Canada. The film and television industry starts celebrating in May with the Alberta Film & Television Awards, and in June at the Digital Alberta Awards. Worth noting, the Banff World Media Festival is honouring Larry King this year with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.

    When it comes to large gatherings, whether it is for a celebration or a convention, the one on everyone’s list this year is the 100th Anniversary of Calgary Stampede. And just in case you did not have enough options there for entertainment, networking and adventure – Calgary’s inaugural Converge 2012 Conference & Showcase will be taking place with a high-end fashion, technology and culture extravaganza.

    Other international events of note in Alberta are: the Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival, the Edmonton and Calgary International Film Festivals, as well as WordFest and the Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary.

    Albertans recognize “culture” to be an ever-changing, vibrant part of their society, but their warmth and values are timeless. So whether you choose to explore our local businesses and urban areas, attend one of our exciting celebrations, or to learn more about your chosen field at a one of our professional conferences—you may be guaranteed that friends will be there to share a smile, raise a cheer and pick up some new “traditions.”


    Stacey Perlin

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