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Canada’s Most Interesting Towns

We’re looking for Canada’s best city or town! Get inspired by these local celebrity favourites, from Michael Buble’s Vancouver to Adam Gopnik’s Montreal, then send us your own unique stories for a chance to win

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There’s no place like home-from our vast Canadian country, to the very neighbourhoods where we grew up.

Find out which locales are dear to Canadian celebrities. Then submit your own most interesting town entries for a chance at $5,000 in cash prizes, your story in print, and some pretty serious cross-Canadian bragging rights.

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on Newfoundland

“Around the edges of the harbour, brightly coloured houses dot the wet and glistening rocks. In some ways they seem almost like defiantly optimistic horseshoe nails: yellow and scarlet and green and pink; buoyantly yet firmly permanent in the grey unsundered rock.” (From “The Lost Salt Gift of Blood )

Photo: DragonWoman/flickr

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Rapper DRAKE on Toronto

“When I think of myself, I think of Toronto. My music would never sound the way it does if it weren’t for Toronto. You talk about certain artists, and they sound like where they’re from. Myself and The Weeknd, we both just sound like Toronto.”

Author PIERRE BERTON on Regina

“Toronto does the least with the most, but Regina does the most with the least.”

Photo: Viaggiatore Fantasma/flickr 

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on Calgary

“Calgary is a city whose best stories haven’t been told too many times. Because it’s a city whose best stories maybe haven’t even been written yet. I’m here because everything but the cowboy hat is still an open question, wide open like the prairie, hinting on the horizon of soaring mountains. It is a young city, stupid and headstrong, brilliant and bold, and it may embarrass itself (again), but it will probably surprise you yet. It surprised me. I walk down my block in Hillhurst near the river with migrating birds overhead, I stroll under poplar branches to the century-old house with the white picket fence (no word of a lie) and the stained-glass transoms over the front windows, and I cross the threshold, and I am home in a way I have never been anywhere else. How the hell did that happen?” (From The Walrus, June 2012)

Photo: skinnybrager/flickr

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Singer MICHAEL BUBLÉ on Vancouver

“I used to go on a lot of dates [on Burnaby Mountain], and I used to park the car and look over the city and hope for a good make-out session. It’s a lot better than sitting there by yourself.”

Former NDP Leader AUDREY MCLAUGHLIN on Whitehorse

“I don’t want to sound too New Age, but it has to touch your soul. If it doesn’t, you leave. There are some lovely places to live in Canada, but they aren’t the North. This is the real North.”

Photo: Rhiannon Fionn/flickr

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on Montreal

“When I think back to my youth in Montreal, I still think first of winter. I think about cold, of course. I recall moments of walking into cold so bitter that your ears seemed to have turned into ice. (What had happened to my hat? What happens to the hats of all Canadian kids? They are lost to some vast repository of wool that will one day be recovered and used to reclothe the sheep of the world.) Pain, certainly, and a sort of strange fugue state, wandering in what had looked like a big city street hours before but now, at ten below zero on the old scale, seemed as strange and abandoned and polar as any ice pack.”

 (Taken from “The Winter: Five Windows On the Season” by Adam Gopnik Copyright © 2011 Adam Gopnik and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Published by House of Anansi)

Photo: zalgon/Flickr

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Musician JOEL PLASKETT on Halifax

“Nobody cares how much money you have/If you’ve got enough to get in a cab/There’ll be drinks on the house if your house burns down/There’s a reason that I love this town.” (From “I Love This Town”)

Prince Edward Island 

Nowhere that plow-cut worms
heal themselves in red loam;
spruces squat, skirts in sand
or the stones of a river rattle its dark
tunnel under the elms,
is there a spot not measured by hands;
no direction I couldn’t walk
to the wave-lined edge of home.
(From The Island Gord)

Photo: Iguanasan/flickr

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on Swift Current , Sask.

“You don’t know what light feels or how its thinking goes. You do know this is where it’s most at home. On the plains where you were born, there are no mountains to turn it back, no forest for it to shoulder through. A solitary tree marks its comings and goings like a pole sunk in the shore of the ocean to measure the tides. Here, light seems like another form of water, as clear but thinner, and it cannot be contained. When you touch it, it resists a little and leaves something like dampness on your skin. You feel it the way you feel a dog’s tongue lick your cheek in the early morning. After an hour or two of walking, you are soaked in brightness. When you shake your head and shoulders, you see the spray. If you stay too long in the open, you could drown, its currents carrying you to its source, your body bobbing, then going under, your lungs full of lustre. Nowhere else in your travels will you see light so palpable and fierce. It is too huge for dreams, too persistent for solitude. All day long it touches you with the smallest of its million watery wings.” (From “Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir)

Photo: wolfnowl/flickr

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Former Oilers’ Defenseman STEVE SMITH on Edmonton

“Part of the learning curve in Edmonton is learning to hate Calgary.”

Writer STEPHEN LEACOCK on Winnipeg

“With the thermometer at 30 below zero and the wind behind him, a man walking on Main Street in Winnipeg knows which side of him is which.” (From My Discovery of the West)

Musician GORD DOWNIE on Saskatoon

“Paris of the Prairies.” (From “Wheat Kings”)

Think your town is Canada’s most interesting? Let us know in a short entry for a chance at $5,000 in cash prizes, your story in print, and some pretty serious cross-Canadian bragging rights.

 Photo: Danny B./ flickr