I moved to Edmonton from Vancouver Island on August 16th 2002. I was just a few months out of high school and I was ready to leave home and take on the world. My older brother was living here in E-Town at the time and we wanted to work on a music project together. With the help of family and friends I packed up everything I owned and moved out to Edmonton. Unbeknownst to me at the time it would be a huge decision that would largely affect who I was going to become and where my life would go, especially since at the time I initially thought that living in Edmonton would be a temporary experience.
Nine years and playing around 100 rock shows later, I’m still here living in Edmonton. Now usually when I would reflect on that fact it almost always carried a negative connotation, always reiterating to myself that once the opportunity arises to move to Vancouver or somewhere warmer I’m moving. This time though, it’s different. I’m not sure what happened, it didn’t happen overnight that’s for sure, but something finally gave. And it hit me, this realization that Edmonton…EDMONTON is FREAKING amazing! Even more than that, it’s one of the single best places to live in the entire world and for the first time I feel like I can say I am a proud to have earned the right to call myself an Edmontonian!
The year of 2011 brought on a lot of personal changes for me, it pushed me to try new things, meet new people, and get acquainted with the Edmonton community at large. I took Improv classes, I went to a Taste of Edmonton, Fringe Festival and other festivals repeatedly, I got nominated for an Edmonton Chapter Meeting Planners International award and I drank a lot of beer at Hudson’s downtown. Before now I don’t think I ever really committed myself to experiencing the incredible things Edmonton has had to offer because I always carried this stigma around, this idea that “I’m not gonna stay here so why bother”, but now all I want to do is go out there and see what other crazy thing the city is putting on or other art festivals taking place. I’ve still barely scratched the surface.
The diversity of the arts community here is almost awe inspiring. I remember one night accidentally stumbling into a lounge that was having a Poetry Reading night, and apparently they do it every week. I didn’t even know this subculture in Edmonton existed! It may not have been my cup of tea but it’s just incredible the things you’ll find here. And the music scene! There are so many incredible independent musicians and bands in this city. With the talent pool that is here it’s confusing that local radio hasn’t just started putting Edmonton artists into regular rotation. From metal, to rock, to pop, to jazz, to country, the city has so many great musical acts.
There are so many more great things about this city that I could talk about but I will save that for another day. I guess what I really wanted to say with this post and to end it off is thanks. Thanks to all the amazing people I have met over the years since I moved to Edmonton that have made this city feel like home. It’s truly because of you guys that I’ve come to appreciate the awesomeness that is Edmonton. The city and economic things this place offers are great, but it’s the awesome people that make it what it is. And even though there may be times when I complain about Edmonton, it’s like that age old saying, “The grass is always greener…”
Where you water it. 😉
– Shane Lamotte