Calgary is a great place to live, by all accounts, but you might not wanna die there. As the National Post reports, the conservative capital of Canada is running out of room to bury its bodies. “Calgary, which maintains five graveyards, has only eight more years of cemetery space,” as per the Post.
Now, having lived in Calgary for 12 years, I’ve seen the city expand from seeing farmers’ fields from my backyard to all the new communities, strip malls and even a couple LRT extensions in my time. There’s no question that space is at a premium within the current city limits. As opposed to Toronto, where buildings are bought out and knocked down to put up condos, Calgary’s expansion has been mostly outwards, not upwards (although there certainly are a few more shiny glass towers downtown than when I left town in ’05). And I can see how a cemetery might not be as profitable as an office building or housing complex, so I suppose this doesn’t surprise me.
Y’see, Calgary’s been booming for quite some time now. The National Post notes “In the ‘40s, Calgary’s population was about 90,000. After the oil boom in the ‘70s, it exceeded 500,000. It now stands at more than 1.2 million.” Since cemeteries aren’t the most profitable investment, some of the biggest ones, like Queen’s Park cemetery, date back to the 40’s, when the rapid expansion of the Calgarian population could not possibly have been foreseen. (And yes, I do find it funny that Calgary named a large burial ground after the Ontario provincial legislature. I suppose the post-war urban planners at least had a sense of humour…)
But, according to the Post, “There are several privately run cemeteries in the city with lots of space: unlike the municipal governments, the private sector does not seem to have the same problems planning for the future.” Hmm, I don’t suppose said proclamation by the paper would be in support of privatizing another enterprise, which has purportedly found favour in that province, would it?