Edmonton may be my birthplace, but it's Medicine Hat that holds the title of "hometown" for me.
Unfortunately, sometimes you don't realize how wonderful your hometown is until you leave for a while.
A typical conversation overheard during my teen years would often include the sentiment that life would begin when we could all, "get out of this town" and head off to the big city lights of Calgary, Edmonton or even Vancouver.
And most of us did leave, for a while. But it didn't take long for a great many of us to realize, especially once we had kids, that maybe a small city in the middle of prairies was where we really wanted to live and raise our children. A place that didn't have much traffic, commuting, or crime, and was a great deal less expensive as well; a place where we could enjoy a high quality of life while pursuing our dreams, surrounded by our extended families and memories from our own childhood's.
I did a video interview with one of our speakers from the weekend, an American, who was flying back to the US the same day after his presentation. I couldn't help myself, I gushed about Medicine Hat, explaining to him about coulees and chinooks, inviting him to come and see for himself if he ever had the opportunity. I told him about Police Point Park and Medalta and the red brick of the city buildings along the river. I would have gone on, given the time. And while I realize that it's my relationship with the people and places of this city that make it so special to me, I truly believe that anyone who spends any time at all here will see it for the fantastic place that it is.
Luke Fandrich must feel the same way about this city as I do, he's created a beautiful photo series featuring Medicine Hat. I've included two videos of them below.
And here is a rather poetic description from native Hatter, Chelsea Miller, in her piece Rudyard Kipling Sings Another Prairie Tune
"As the Trans-Canada Highway is some 8,000 kilometres long, I can’t speak for very many stretches of that paved strip, but I do know that when you are west of Swift Current and east of Calgary, there is nary a tree in sight. At the summer’s end, fields of wheat await the harvest. Plain Jane pastureland stretches to the horizon, as cattle graze and laze. Farmers swath the hay in the ditches between the twinned highway, leaving behind neatly piled rows for the baler to coil up. But mostly, all you can see is sky. Then you pass through that jewel on the prairie, as welcome as a sprig of parsley garnishing your baked potato: welcome to Medicine Hat, the Gas City."