Head of the Class

All eyes were on the blackboard when the Calgary Foundation presented its 2012 Vital City Report at the BMO centre recently. The community report card, based on responses from over 1,000 citizens, grades quality of life in Calgary.

Before the marks were handed out, community movers and shakers, giants of industry and keen Calgarians alike met, mingled and noshed on turkey and brie sandwiches. Lunchtime was a networking smorgasboard, but keynote speakers like cSpace's Reid Henry, astrophysicist Rob Cardinal, and mayor Naheed Nenshi drew much of the class to their seats early. Joy, a stay-at-home mom, was keen to learn what the city's performance meant for her community. Her friend Carla was there to check out her son's observation, from a day at City Hall school, that Mayor Nenshi was “just like a real person, only funnier”.

Poet laureate Kris Demeanor, spouting rhyming couplets of clever Calgarianisms, led band mates Chantal Vitalis and Anne Loree onto the stage to kick things off with a rousing performance. After a declaration by host Ken Lima-Coelho that “everybody's got a story in this town”, Calgary Foundation President and CEO Eva Friesen told us how we're doing. With a B in arts and culture, a B- in neighbourhoods, and a B+ in work, it seems we're doing pretty good.

Mayor Nenshi may have been caught tweeting in the front row, but when he took to the podium, he confessed to an entirely different misdemeanour – that he originally thought that Three Things For Calgary was a really dumb idea. We’re glad that he was smart enough to change his mind. He gets top marks for his timely reminder to the class that “you are never too small, you are never too weak, and you are never too quiet to have an impact in your community.” Keep up the good work, Calgary!