The City of Victoria garners plenty of international accolades for its famous hanging flower baskets, most romantic Canadian destination and as a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
But the latest honour bestowed upon B.C.’s capital likely won’t be shouted from the rooftops by Tourism Victoria.
Last week, organizers of the inaugural Boring Awards quietly removed Abbotsford from its list of top five most boring Canadian cities and replaced it with the sleepy City of Gardens.
The tongue-in-cheek awards were announced in Toronto May 23 as part of a promotion for the independent film, Boredom.
“There’s a certain angst about being young in Victoria. It’s very similar to Ottawa – you have this spectacular location, unbelievable wealth and resources, yet the city can be a bit dull,” said organizer and Boredom director Albert Nerenburg.
Abbotsford was initially named the fourth most boring city behind Ottawa, Laval and Lethbridge, but protests from Abbotsford officials convinced Nerenburg and his colleagues to change their minds.
Nerenberg cited the fact that in 2009, Abbotsford was named Canada’s per capita murder capital, but has since lowered the murder rate to nearly zero.
“That’s an almost 1,000 per cent decrease. That’s not boring,” he said.
Coun. Ben Isitt, who served as acting mayor while Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin was out of town last week, said the city should accept the award as a challenge to create more vibrancy and culture in the downtown core.
“The fact is, when you talk to a lot of young people, they’ll tell you Victoria isn’t the most exciting place. We’ve seen a loss of a number of live music venues in the last decade or so, and culturally, we cling to this outdated view we’re little England, when really we’re a dynamic and multicultural city where I think environmental and social values shape people’s identities a lot more than supposed Britishness,” he said.
Isitt highlighted the energy seen at places like Ship Point during live concerts, and said the location would be perfect for a food truck pilot program. The recently unveiled Harbour Pathway will also help inject some vibrancy into Victoria once completed, Isitt said.
“There are things happening, but this a challenge to do even better,” he said.
The Boring Awards also poked fun at Canadian people and events.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was named Most Boring Canadian of the Year while Toronto Mayor Rob Ford edged out the Ikea Monkey and was named Least Boring Canadian of the Year.