Bell: Calgary now Blue Sky City pablum, a waste of time and our money

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Well, looks like the horse poop isn’t only on the Calgary Stampede parade route.

Yes, a few months back, we were all told Calgary would now be Blue Sky City.

This week we were finally shown the Blue Sky City logo, a big letter C formed by sun-like bead-like thingies against a background of blue or red or yellow.

Already there’s $1.7 million out the door. There is $4.8 million for Calgary Economic Development and Tourism Calgary and reportedly another $1 million out there.

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Total: $5.8 million. Ka-ching!

Blue Sky logos
Some of the logos and graphics for the new Blue Sky City branding on display earlier this week. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Who was asking for the city to cut the cheque? Was it you? Or you? Or you?

Who was sitting around one day with their friends or family and said: “We need a new brand and logo for Calgary! Get on it, city council.”

Figured. It was none of you but it was your money.

So it is no more Calgary: Be Part of the Energy.

Oh, a few years back, Calgary Economic Development thought Be Part of the Energy was a fine brand.

There was no reason to shy away from that brand.

It wasn’t saying Be Part of Oil and Gas. That’s what they told us.

No, the city was about energy. The energy of people. Being part of that energy. Being innovative and creative and entrepreneurial. Being like the energy of Calgary’s response to the flood of 2013.

That’s what Calgary Economic Development told us.

Now they’re ditching that brand.

Why and for what?

Newshounds are falling all over themselves over the new brand and the logo. No tough questions there.

Some of the logos and graphics for Calgary’s new Blue Sky City branding. Handout photo.

Some politicians off the record snicker and roll their eyes and tell you this rebranding sucks but they are keeping their lips zipped because they don’t want to be swarmed for hurting someone’s feelings.

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And besides, the crew behind this costly stunt couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. They’ve heard great things about their branding. They think it’s founded in truth.

So what’s the score?

Well, the brand people say they did research and Calgarians didn’t like Be Part of the Energy.


They say the new brand reflects Calgary’s diverse community.

They say people in South Korea like the brand and they did give us dancing Gangnam style.

City hall gave the green light and a lot of cash for those wanting a new look to come up with a brand “reflective of all Calgarians.”

Blue Sky City.

This is where it all gets a little strange.

The brand backers say the truth of Calgary had to be “unearthed” from talking to all kinds of Calgarians.

Did they call you? They didn’t call me.

They said Blue Sky City would “inspire” and call for “a deeper understanding of our past and our future.”

“A collective identity” for Calgary would be created.

We would be “clarifying who we are.”

There would be “greater cohesion between Calgarians” and “align us around a vision.”

A hallucination perhaps?

So far this is complete gibberish. Did no one chuckle when going over this material?

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Let us forge ahead and hope for better.

They listened to people and they found “deeper meaning” and “three key truths.”

Why am I suddenly tempted to say: “Dude, that’s just so cool.”

Anyway, are you ready for the deeper meaning and the three key truths?

One. Calgarians look up at the sky and imagine what’s possible. I know a lot of folks who look up at the sky and try to imagine a smoke-free summer is possible.

Two. Calgary is home to 333 days of sun and “it’s a truth we can stand behind.”

I hope this gets a little more profound. These are key truths, after all.

Three. To the sky, we are all equal. When the sky looks down on us it cannot differentiate “between any facets of our being.”

The sky doesn’t actually look down on us except, of course, in Blue Sky City.

They have phrases to go along with this mumbo-jumbo. There is an unsubstantiated rumour the author works part-time as a writer of cheesy greeting cards.

Sunshine will strike, arched clouds will catch your eye and the vast air above will simply beckon.

So what do you expect for $1.7 million so far, Shakespeare?

Then the truth of all truths about Calgary is revealed.

“When they ask who we are, look up.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

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