Okay, so we’re all done being Irish for another year. And more than a few of us, dealing with the after effects are vowing to maybe be a little ‘less’ Irish next St. Patrick’s Day.
Maybe it’s time to consider trying on somebody else’s heritage.
So, how about mine?
I was born in Alberta. I left when I was 3 for the “home” province of my allegiance now –- Saskatchewan. But every time I travel to our second most Westerly jurisdiction, I still feel that I belong.
Like some of the Irish, however, Canadians can be quite sectarian. And Alberta is oft maligned as “redneck”, “right-wing”, “stupid rich” or addicted to dirty oil.
But that just isn’t the place I know or experience when I visit.
From an artist’s point of view, it’s odd that theatres in the country’s center of the intellectual and artistic universe are struggling, while many in Alberta have had their best seasons.
Toronto playwrights and dramaturges fret that a play about a fictional prime Minister might court disfavor while a Calgary company drew raves with a show critical of the oil patch that was sponsored and supported by several oil companies.
Despite the negative memes, this is a place unafraid of controversy, eager to try on new ideas and willing to take risks.
It’s also breathtakingly beautiful.
This would be a great year to explore Alberta for yourself. For starters, it’s the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, one of our most spectacular annual parties.
And there are literally hundreds of other things you can’t find anywhere else, from the world’s best dinosaur museum to pristine glacial lakes.
You might even be pleasantly surprised by what you encounter on visiting the Tar Sands.
My last trip through Alberta, I found a baseball cap inscribed “Canadian by birth. Albertan by the grace of God”.
It’s a sentiment most who visit will share.
Enjoy Your Sunday.
(Hit full screen and remember to breathe)