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The Wasteland of Downtown Calgary
I arrived in Calgary September 1st, 2023 having driven from Saskatchewan. My spouse was there for work meetings. We brought our dogs with us to spend the weekend in a condo that we rented on Air BnB. I was there to do reconnaissance on the Calgary Pride Parade to see if there was anything worth reporting on and to visit friends. What we ended up witnessing was a shocking look at the utter decay of a modern city center.
Overall Calgary is beautiful. It has great parks, the roads generally flow pretty well and there is plenty of productive things to see and do. I’ve been there several times over the years. I went to the Pride Parade in 2022 and got video of a street Pastor being harassed by LGBT+ activists and visited with friends. I have been there prior for work and to visit with friends over the years. The downtown area in 2022 seemed to be your typical downtown, maybe more homeless people then other city centers (Saskatoon, Windsor, London) but on par with a city center like Winnipeg but safer at the time. In Winnipeg my friend and I had sat at a restaurant patio and watched the city come to life (or fall apart) in the downtown corridor after dark.
Jump to 2023 and I can report that the crime, drug use and social decay has accelerated to an unprecedented level. In one year it appears to have completely gone off the rails. Upon arriving at our Air BnB we were greeted by two addicts tweaking out mere feet from the building. There were numerous warnings on the building doors warning people to keep the doors closed and not let people in if you didn’t know them. Close the door and make them buzz up or buzz themselves in. There was broken glass and garbage all over the sidewalks and the grass adjacent to the sidewalks. The buildings were not bad, it was the areas around them that were disgusting.
There was a perpetual smell of pot smoke everywhere you went. I am not a prude, and cannabis is legal in Canada but the smell was everywhere. We took the dogs for a walk to stretch their legs and as we travelled further into the downtown core the smell of pot was mixed in with a pungent smell of caramelized piss. Boarded up businesses and smashed out windows were common. Graffiti and gang tags littered the landscape on everything from the sides of buildings to Canada Post letter boxes. There were people strung out everywhere passed out on sidewalks, in the corners of buildings and all over the alleyways. We went to walk in a near by park called Lindsay park and there was a homeless woman bathing in the river, needles everywhere and homeless people…did I say homeless people? There were regular people but no one looked particularly happy to be there. We left after we spotted a group of people flashing gang colors who were eyeing us down. When we got back to the Condo, the air was filled with the sounds of sirens and from our vantage point we could see multiple police vehicles converging on one area. We later found out that there was a ethnic battle that occurred in the area they were heading towards involving up to 150 people.
We visited some friends downtown and went to a restaurant. While dining on the patio we witnessed an overdose that necessitated an ambulance and the police came to deal with someone who was having a mental health crisis and screaming and yelling in public but then left him there to keep going after he refused services. When we left the restaurant we walked our friends back to their car and they offered to drive us back to the condo and we said we would walk the four or five blocks. They warned us not to take public transit.
Drug use & Sidewalk Bathroom Breaks
The next day we got up early and began walking around downtown. What we couldn’t believe was the sheer number of homeless people shambling around, panhandling and several appeared to be “on the nod.” On the nod is a term for people who have consumed certain drugs and remain immobile in strange bent over positions while they are feeling the effects. It leaves them vulnerable to positional asphyxiation, being assaulted, robbed, they could be overdosing, etc… most of these people when they go on the nod will have someone stay nearby for safety but we could see people alone and in these positions.
While we were walking we witnessed a man right in the middle of the sidewalk remove his pants and squat and begin shitting on the sidewalk. In all my years on earth so far I have heard stories of San Francisco having poop patrol and such things but I had yet to witness things like that myself. Yet here it was and while he was shitting people simply walked around him, trying to ignore what was occurring. It was a shocking act of public indecency and filth. As we travelled through downtown we had to dodge piles of puke, additional human feces and even needles. Meanwhile that ever present haze of marijuana smoke emanated down the corridors. I was absolutely disgusted. This is what constitutes a modern city center now.
My reconnaissance of the Calgary Pride Parade was generally fruitless. There was not a big cross section of debauchery like other Pride events. The Parade was highly corporatized and that seems to have played a factor. Although I note the parade seemed to be smaller then the one in 2022. Every company had a unique slogan that was not all that unique because they were all variations of the same concept. The strangest thing I really saw was a person dressed up in two tone costume that featured a pup mask with their pup master dancing on a crosswalk. What was interesting is that as the parade lurched onwards the side walks were occupied by large groups of people, most of these people are Liberal leaning or centrists. Just behind the crowds were homeless people passed out in the bushes or on the nod bent over. Yet all these liberal types, seemed unconcerned and unbothered by this. These hypocrites that tell us that we need to “be kind” to drug addicts and homeless seemed content with the decay as long as it did not personally affect them. It’s a mixture of cognitive dissonance and learned helplessness.
Eyes Forward, Mouth Shut & Ears Tuned out
This ties back to another article I did called “The Subtle War on Noticing”. Not only as a society are we expected to conform to the Leftist idea that things such as homelessness, drug addiction, shitting on sidewalks and urban decay are normal in a big city center, we are also expected to not notice these problems unless it is in the context of providing endless waves of empathy and compassion…never judgement. I wish more people who worked and lived downtown would speak up about these issues. It only gets worse because of the perpetual cone of silence by our poisoned habitus and enforced through our corrupt leftist based social contract. This social contract says without saying, thou shall not notice lest ye be judged by the mob of fat, pink haired, multi gendered, neo-marxists that seem to have the ear of our authority structures.
We had to go to a local Shoppers to pick up a few items and there were homeless people camped outside of the store openly consuming substances and yelling at people for change as they walked by. As we paid for our items inside I watched a woman just outside through the window take multiple hits off of a blackened glass pipe before leaning back and appearing to pass out. Later on that night I visited a few friends at the local downtown Hilton hotel. As we sat in the open lounge area, just outside the building we could see a woman inject drugs and fall into a stupor while her friends watched on. Later an intoxicated man entered the lobby and began making threats to the staff who wouldn’t let him into the hotel. This led to them locking that entrance because a crowd of homeless people had gathered. A little while later another person began trying to gain entry and when he couldn’t attempted to rip the door out and began trying to shatter the glass. The staff said something into a radio then carried on like it wasn’t happening. They were following the social contract of not noticing lest their job be at risk from a cancellation or policy violation for reporting bad social behavior from non-guests on their property.
Monday morning we packed our things quickly and left. Both of us shocked at the utter state of what was supposed to represent a modern big city downtown corridor.
The problem of urban decay in our streets is far worse then what I thought it was. In less then two years the acceleration of social depravity has reached above crisis proportions. It is now normalized. Downtown areas of most Canadian cities are largely untenable wastelands filled with urban decay. Even the cheery disposition of public events in the areas are not drawing the same crowds they used to because people do not feel safe and are not safe in these areas. Surely the administration knows this as the Calgary downtown corridor is home to the City Hall but they’ve either conceded that there isn’t anything they can do to stop the flow or they’re ideologues that have bought the kool-aid that more compassion and understanding along with radical leftist policies will fix these issues. After this weekend in Calgary I will not be travelling back there unless I have to for work. It is not safe and it is as much of a health hazard as it is a safety hazard to be in that area. I am going to keep noticing these things and reporting on the reality of the fall of the Canadian dream.
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