Question #2: Prince Albert

Collette asks, how do you feel about Prince Albert? are you satisfied with the city itself? what would you change if you could?

My personality plays a role in the answer to this question. I’m a laid back and content person and generally happy wherever I am. I’m not a socialite, a partier or what have you, so I don’t need to live in a city with lots “to do”. I generally prefer to stay home or possibly visit people in their homes. So in this sense, I don’t require much from a city other than some good people.

With that in mind, I’m quite happy with Prince Albert, but I would be probably feel the same in any city I lived in—I was also quite happy, for instance, with Regina. It’s easy to get around and when it comes to essentials (such as groceries) has a number of stores to choose from. We’re getting more of the Big Box Stores, such as Future Shop, which is exciting in a way, but in the age of internet shopping (thank goodness for Amazon!) it really doesn’t make that much difference.

Prince Albert is also ideally located in terms of summer activities. We have a number of lakes within an hour’s drive (or less); countless lakes for fishing; lots of hiking/biking/hunting options. A three minute drive and we’re out in the country.

In this sense I am satisfied with the city itself, but what would I change if I could?

If I had magical city-changing powers, I would clean the city up. It’s always muddy or sandy or dusty and full of litter. It simply doesn’t look nice. I would also revitalize the downtown, which is in desperate need. The downtown should be hopping with shoppers and artists and walkers and coffee-drinkers. To do this I would possibly use my powers to close the Big Box Shopping Center in town, which isn’t helping any locally-owned business that I’m aware of; I would do something (positive) about the homeless/wanderers/addicts downtown. I would simply eradicate drugs, prostitution and crime (remember: I have magical powers).

I would improve the transit system, including making bicycle friendly (the city needs bike stands and paths). I would try and improve the older areas of town, which are filled with beautiful character homes but tend to be run down and sometimes unsafe. In a related move, I would ban cookie-cutter developments in the new subdivisions in town. I like a clean city, but the new areas look uptight, pretentious and squeaky-clean and lack character, which I don’t like. I would also magically create neighbourhood coffee shops and other community-oriented enterprises.

And while I’m at it, I’d get a good independent bookstore (in full cooperation with the humble local independent Christian bookstore, of course) into the city. Something like Regina’s Book & Brier Patch or Books & Company in Prince George, BC.

Now, if I was independently wealthy, or earned my living out of my home, such as through freelance writing or boxing items or some telephone-related services, I would move out of the city altogether. I would do that no matter what city I lived in, unless I owned a cozy character home of some kind. I’d prefer to live in a small town or an acreage out on the prairie or near the South Saskatchewan River south of Prince Albert somewhere.

7 thoughts on “Question #2: Prince Albert

  1. critic

    Venturoso Books IS a good independent bookstore. It could use a little more character however (ie: seating area)!! What more could you ask for in a bookstore? *note* I have never been to the bookstores you mention so I have no idea what a “good” bookstore is to you! Please advise…

  2. Marc

    There is nothing wrong with Venturoso Books, but it’s a used bookstore with some new books available (they might also do special order), so selection is limited. It does, in my opinion, need a facelift. The independent bookstores I mention have a large selection of new books, magazines, etc. They’re kind of like Chapters or Indigo or McNally Robinson, but a little smaller and more personal. (Size doesn’t matter in a bookstore, but selection does.)

  3. JT

    When I win the lottery that I am sure is bound to happen one day, I am buying a big old chunk of land across from Cornerstone and opening a nice indie bookstore, which in my fantasies sort of is like Book and Briar in Regina but bigger. Cross that with a Chapters maybe. And, next to it, my wife will open the children’s clothing store that she always wants, since PA only has used children’s clothing stores – sort of like the one in Melfort, but bigger.
    Of course, since we’ll have all the lotto money, we’ll throw some money to Marian and gang at Venturoso to expand and update their store, and ditto for the two used children’s clothing stores.
    And one thing to revitalize the downtown would be, if I had super powers as well, would be to build a big leisure centre right in the heart of downtown. I’m thinking wave pool, I’m thinking lap pool, I’m thinking state of the art fitness club, weight room, open gym, throw in an arena – cross the Y in Regina with the Melfort Palace and that’s sort of what I am thinking.
    You know, there has to be hope, because downtown Moose Jaw used to be a hell-hole and now it’s nice, so we just have to get some schtick to market.
    Oh, and I’d use the rest of the lotto money to bribe Winners back to town, and have them settle in the downtown.

  4. critic

    JT: Could you also turn Central Avenue into something similar (but even better than..) Broadway Ave in Stoon? If people weren’t so scared to be downtown this idea would probably fly in Prince Albert. Chic shops, high end, trendy coffee shops, some nice little antique shops, etc etc…. Oh to dream..

  5. Ian H.

    The problem with downtown isn’t that people don’t go there – it’s that once they’re there, it’s too dang hard to find good parking within walking distance of whichever store they want to shop at. I like the idea of a Leisure centre – fieldhouse, too while we’re at it (indoor track, tennis/badminton, etc.)… as long as there’s decent parking. One “anchor” destination would really set that area up to grow (see Cornerstone and Wal-Mart). I wouldn’t mind if downtown was gentrified (or yuppiefied, either), as long as they can get rid of some of the real eyesores (hotels that rent by the hour and the month).

    And while I know you have some connection to that little independent Christian bookstore ;), I’d really like to see a Christian Publications or Parable or something with decent selection move in…

  6. Marc

    If I had magical powers, you guys would all be off of city council so fast you wouldn’t know what hit you! 😉

    Bigger stores? More parking? Less walking? Leisure centres? a downtown Walmart? PARABLES?

    No, no, no, dear readers, you are missing my point. We don’t need more chains. We need more quality independent shops. Send the chains packing.

    The whole point of the downtown I envision is walking amongst other people, to help us realize that we are a community, not driving from one place to the next. You can already do that at Cornerstone, and it’s not that special.

  7. Collette

    The whole point of the downtown I envision is walking amongst other people, to help us realize that we are a community, not driving from one place to the next.

    yes! exactly!! that’s the vision I have for downtown Regina too. unfortunately our Mayor claims the same, but then supports giving big box stores tax breaks to build in the east and northwest corners of the city. argh.

    thanks for answering my question Marc, by the way. I read it immediately, but I didn’t get around to commenting until now. I tend to read my feeds when I don’t have time to comment, and then never make the time to comment.

    anyway, sounds like your ideas on how to improve PA mesh with how I see Regina and really any city. I hope more people our age get involved with change…. I know a ton of people who feel the way we do, but we don’t do much about it. I guess it’s hard to know where to start, plus it’s a rather intimidating goal.

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