Grande Prairie named Canada's fourth most romantic city
'Romantic long walks underneath the stars are absolutely possible,' says Mayor Bill Given
When one thinks of romantic cities in Canada, Grande Prairie might not immediately come to mind.
But according to online shopping website Amazon.ca, the northwestern Alberta city of more than 68,000 people is the fourth most romantic city in Canada. Edmonton landed way down the list in 17th position.
Victoria, B.C. was named Canada's top romantic hot spot for the fifth year in a row.
The findings are based on sales of romance novels and movies, relationship books, and jewelry and "sexual wellness" products.
Beyond the sales though, where's the evidence that Grande Prairie is a city of love? We tried to find out.
A quick Google search initially provided some hope — a restaurant called Don Juan's Romantic Mexican Food. But sadly, it is in Grand Prairie, Texas.
So what makes folks in Grande Prairie so romantic? For answers, CBC went to the top man of this Paris on the Prairies, Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given.
"I'm not surprised, given that e-readers and movies and things were counted in the survey," Given said.
"Grande Prairie residents are voracious in that way."
And it seems that romance extends from the book pages to the bed sheets.
According to Given, the city has experienced a recent baby boom.
"Grande Prairie is actually one of the youngest cities in Canada," said Given. "We have actually more children from 0-to-5 than we have seniors 65-plus."
Given also believes you don't need to rely on a book or movie to get you in the mood.
"Grande Prairie has a fantastic urban park that runs all through our community," said Given. "Romantic long walks underneath the stars are absolutely possible.
"I think there's lots of opportunities to be romantic in the community. Whether it's going out for a night on the town at the live theatre or wandering though the art gallery, there's lots of great places for lovers in Grande Prairie."
Cold weather, hot romance
For Catherine Daguerre, those romantic inclinations make for good business.
Daguerre sells beauty products and bedroom accessories for Pure Romance.
"What surprises me is we didn't hit the list last year," said Daguerre, who thinks the cold weather plays a role in romantic activities.
"We have all sorts of walks of life that come and purchase things from us, so [we] wouldn't be surprised if it was your own mother," she said.
Not everyone feels the love, though.
Comedian Scott Belford, who grew up in Grande Prairie, didn't experience an abundance of romance during his nearly 19 years in the city.
"I don't know what my problem was, I never had much luck," said Belford. "But glad to hear there's plenty of Grande Prairians who do have some luck, so good on 'em.
"I wouldn't think romance when I think Grande Prairie, but I guess with all the trucks there, how can you not get romantic?"
As for Edmonton's poor ranking at 17, Grande Prairie's mayor has a theory.
"Places outside of the Capital region have drawn adventure seekers and risk takers, and people who are full of a lust for life, and I think that's absolutely true of Grande Prairie," Given said.
"Although Mayor Don [Iveson] might disagree with me, sometimes larger centres can be a little more uptight and so maybe that's where we're seeing the free spirit in Grande Prairie and northern residents in general being reflected in this."
Here's the list of Canada's most romantic cities in Amazon.ca's eighth-annual ranking.
1. Victoria, B.C.
2. Abbotsford, B.C.
3. North Vancouver, B.C.
4. Grande Prairie, Alta.
5. Saskatoon, Sask.
6. Prince George, B.C.
7. Waterloo, Ont.
8. Nanaimo, B.C.
9. Kamloops, B.C.
10. Calgary, Alta.
11. Red Deer, Alta.
12. Lethbridge, Alta.
13. Kingston, Ont.
14. Regina, Sask.
15. North Bay, Ont.
16. Medicine Hat, Alta.
17. Edmonton, Alta.
18. Burlington, Ont.
19. Maple Ridge, B.C.
20. Newmarket, Ont.