Pulse of Canada

#CalgaryStrong: Corny, classless or correct?

Pulse of Canada
Kevan Yaets and his cat Momo are led to safety excaping his pick-up swept downstream in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.
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Kevan Yaets and his cat Momo are led to safety excaping his pick-up swept downstream in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks.

In the wake of the southern Alberta floods, a new hashtag has started appearing on Twitter trending lists: #CalgaryStrong.

Of course, it's a play on the slogan that originated out of the Boston Marathon bombings in April — Boston Strong. It was originally coined by two Emerson College students who coined the phrase and raised $800,000 by selling t-shirts with the slogan, and quickly became a rallying cry for Bostonians recovering from the tragedy. The implicit message: That life will go on regardless of what happens.

Over time, the slogan became a marketing ploy, a sports cheer and a great way to sell anything from candles to coffee mugs. The true impact of the message has been diminished.

And now, as Albertans struggle to clean up after the worst flooding in a century, it's been adopted by Calgary tweeters in an attempt to band together following the devastation in their city.

There's no questioning Calgarians' resiliency and willingness to pitch in — over 100,000 people were dislocated from their homes but only 1,500 couldn't find friends or neighbours to take them in and were forced to go to temporary emergency shelters. And when it came time to start cleaning up McMahon Stadium in advance of the Calgary Stampede, thousands of volunteers showed up to pitch in and do their parts.

But the question is whether Calgary needs its own, unique rallying cry or whether it's appropriate to piggyback on what Boston did following the terrorist attack in April.

Is using #CalgaryStrong further diminishing the impact of the tragedy in Boston, or is it an appropriate rallying cry for a city recovering from a similar catastrophe?

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