My Edmonton introduction came in the back of a cab on Highway 2. As the driver maneuvered through a winter whiteout, I saw an oversized billboard with a scantily clad blonde letting me know Edmonton “supports Big Oil.”
Gotcha. Definitely not in Vancouver anymore, Toto.
Anyway, I’ve decamped to Northern Alberta for the next three weeks to report for the business section of the Edmonton Journal. I’ll also pull a few shifts on the city beat. Needless to say, it’s an exciting opportunity to get outside my comfort zone as a journalist.
After touching down at YEG, a few of the stereotypes associated with Edmonton started to crystallize. Men in 10 gallon cowboy hats chatted over steaming mugs of coffee. A nervous-looking 20-something asked his friend how long the bus ride was up to Fort McMurray. Both appeared to have flown in on a whim, ready to beat down some doors in search of those coveted six-figure jobs in the tar sands.
More than a few people apologized about the weather. Winters here are no doubt harsh and unforgiving, so I prepared accordingly (toque, puffy coat, long johns, etc.). But it’s still a shock to hear people refer to -10 degrees celcius as “mild.”