A Short List Of Famous (And Sometimes Insulting) Things That Have Been Said About Edmonton, Alberta

by Laurence Miall on June 29, 2013Comments Off on A Short List Of Famous (And Sometimes Insulting) Things That Have Been Said About Edmonton, Alberta

The recent outcry by Edmonton’s outgoing mayor, Stephen Mandel, over the apparent slur against his city by the National Post continues a long tradition. The Post, whether slanderously or satirically – you be the judge! – said that if Edmonton had suffered the kind of flooding Calgary recently did, it would be “a smoking hole in the ground at this point, infested with twitchy-eyed, machete-wielding savages.”  This is not the first time an outsider has turned his or her gaze upon Alberta’s capital and said something – to put it mildly – irreverent.


Here is a short list some of the other colourful things that have been said about Edmonton over the years.

“Edmonton isn’t really the end of the world – although you can see it from there.” Ralph Klein, 1988

“A fine city with too many socialists and mosquitoes. At least you can spray the mosquitoes.” Ralph Klein, 1990

“If Canada were not a country, however fragmented, but instead a house, Vancouver would be the solarium-cum-playroom, an afterthought of affluence; Toronto, the counting room, where money makes for the most glee; Montreal, the salon; and Edmonton, the boiler room.” Mordecai Richler, 1985

“On first glance, or even on third, it seems not much a city as a jumble of a used building lot, where the spare office towers and box-shaped apartment buildings and cinder block motels discarded in the construction of real cities have been abandoned to waste away in the cruel prairie winter,” Mordecai Richler, 1985

“Although its charms are less than obvious, Edmonton has always exerted an irresistible attraction over settlers… Like each and every one of Edmonton’s 900,000 citizens, Joey, my friendly neighbourhood cab driver, is touchingly – if bafflingly – proud of his home town, dubbed `Deadmonton’ for the paucity of its attractions by one member of the British team. ‘Deadmonton? No way. It’s known throughout North America as the City of Champions,’ related my self-appointed tourist guide.” Daily Telegraph reporter Robert Philip writing at the World Championships in Athletics, 2001

“The biggest difference between L.A. and Edmonton was that instead of people looking at me I was looking at them.” Wayne Gretzky [year unknown]

“The Oilers could relocate, but there’s no chance of that because Edmonton remains one of the league’s strongest hockey markets since there’s absolutely nothing else to do there. Even though that would be a better fate than the continued mediocrity of the Oilers franchise, that level of performance is what the limp-dick Oilers and their hopeless fucking fans deserve.” Vice Magazine, 2013