Medicine Hat is Awesome!
On this International Day of Awesomeness, I woke up to sunshine. That is not an unusual occurrence in winter in Medicine Hat, it is very different from where I grew up. Sunsets are amazing at any time of year!
Outside my home, summertime.
I was born and raised on the West Coast (mostly the Lower Mainland), often referred to as the Wet Coast (with good reason). I even lived in Prince Rupert, the Least Sunny City in Canada. I met my late husband Carl when I lived in Abbotsford which is one of the rainiest cities in Canada. We moved together to Redcliff where his parents Joe and Lila Allard lived, they used to live in the ‘Hat. (They were amazing people; I miss them.) Carl and his parents lived here before when he was a teen; he told me fond stories of hanging out with his uncle Walter Ostrom and his many cousins. Carl’s grandfather worked in the clay pits, his grandmother is buried in Hillside Cemetery; the Allards go back over 100 years in this area.
Moving to the prairies with Carl was a bit of a culture shock. I laughed when I heard the kids played outside at school when it was minus 18C but got to stay inside when it rained. Of course as a kid on the coast, we all had gumboots, rain jackets, and umbrellas; they came in a rainbow of colours. Out here they come in one colour - black – because nobody wears/uses them.
I have not owned an umbrella or gumboots in over 30 years, I don’t miss them. I don’t miss the jeans soaked to the knees when we walked to school, the inevitable bout of athletes foot from fungus growing in wet footwear, the permeating cold and dampness, the mugginess of summer, the dark nights in winter when you could not see stars through the clouds, the lawns made of moss, the mud everywhere, the giant banana slugs (up to 27cm/10 inches) that ate everything and left a trail of slime, the mosquitoes that loved to feast on me, the fleas that tormented my pets (always around the eyes, under the chin, in the armpits) and the giant spiders.
This is a just a baby BC slug.
Sure we can get cold in Medicine Hat but the chinooks come quite frequently, the snow is sparse but enough to keep it bright in winter especially at night, the big thunderstorms seem to head directly towards us but then split apart to go north and south of the city. We are indeed in a very special little area of Alberta. We don’t get the snows of Calgary or the winds of Lethbridge or the thunderstorms of Brooks.
This was taken at 11PM near my place this winter. In BC, it would be pitch black.
Lots of council members and others running for council have lived on the prairies all their lives and so are used to it. I can see it from a different angle and can relate to "outsiders", people we want to move here and make Medicine Hat even more prosperous. We used to be the 5th largest city in Alberta, we are now the 10th. The rest of the top 10 are growing quicker than we are. We have an opportunity now, many people learned they can work from home, they no longer have to live in big cities. We are in a new world and need to add new ideas and new viewpoints to keep us prosperous.
I see my adopted city as a treasure and brag about it to everyone. When I talk to my mom on Vancouver Island and tell her about our weather, she often says “I hate you” ;) One of my old neighbours said that she and her husband once moved to Vancouver Island, she loved it but her husband hated it. He missed the sunshine so much that they moved back.
We are very lucky to live where we do, we have many big city amenities without the big city problems. All these things make Medicine Hat Awesome!