Calgary at a Crossroads: The economy's tanked, now what?

The devastating downturn in the oilpatch marks the end of easy money, and makes it a good time to figure out the true culture and character of Calgary. If we’re not Canada’s brazen economic powerhouse, then who are we? Welcome to CBC Calgary's continuing series Calgary at a Crossroads.

Who we are and who we want to be: New CBC Calgary project focuses on what makes our city tick

CBC Calgary’s special focus on life in our city during the downturn will look at the city's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. It’s called Calgary at a Crossroads. (David Perlich/CBC)

Yep, we're in a downturn and, sure, we've had them before but this time seems, well, different.

Problem is, no one seems to know how it's different. But there's something in the air, a kind of "nervous" that's new.

People are facing the chop at work. Bank accounts are draining. "Uncertainty" is the watchword in the towers downtown and at home, late at night, when you're hiding under a blanket trying to puzzle out your future.

Our city is having a bit of an identity crisis. If we're not Canada's brazen economic powerhouse, then who are we? 

The fact that times are tough makes it a good time to figure out the true culture and character of the city. Who are we and who do we want to be? 

A look at the city's character

All of us here at CBC Calgary live and work in the city, so we thought: Let's take a look at what's different this time around, and how is it affecting the character of the city.

We're calling it Calgary at a Crossroads, a continuing special look at all things Calgary that will run over the next five months or so. 

We're going to bring you the stories of our city that focus on our personal relationships with this place we all call home: 

  • How we're coping with the downturn, and how we're not.
  • How Calgary can be an amazing place to live, and a city that occasionally tempts a resident to buy a plane ticket to "Get-Me-The-Hell-Out-Of-Here."

Calgary at a Crossroads will live online, on our radio programs and as video stories — and it all starts today.


He has produced television, radio and online programming in Calgary since 1992 — including CBC's 2015 Alberta election special. He worked for Al-Jazeera in Washington, D.C., was the managing editor of the Belgian newspaper De Morgen and also reported as CBC's Vatican analyst in the 2005 and 2012 conclaves. He was born in Calgary, grew up on a farm, and now calls this city home.