My American Twin

When I arrived in Edmonton in the mid-1970s, the concept of Canadian cities having an American equivalent was an easy concept for me to latch on to. Adopting a Sister City across the Pacific was a popular trend at the time, so why not closer to home, across the 49th Parallel?

Vancouver was easily associated with both Seattle and San Francisco, though Portland might actually have been a closer match during some periods of the respective histories of the two cities.

I quickly concluded that Edmonton’s U.S. twin was Denver, and Calgary’s was Houston. Remember, this was 1975, with the Alberta Oil Boom in full swing for some years to come.

My twinning was all about the Feel of the City and Common Sensibilities of its People. Based on my impressions, as someone who had been to neither Denver nor Houston, and never knowingly met someone from either City. But it was reinforced when I sat next to someone my age from Denver on a Northwest Airlines flight a few years later. It felt just like talking to someone from Edmonton.

That is one of the reasons that I always thought that Edmonton should get its U.S. cable television from Denver rather than Spokane. Because of the one hour difference in time zones between Spokane and Edmonton, we had to stay up an hour later to watch U.S. network shows. Even if they were aired on local Edmonton stations! Because…

When Canadian stations air programs at the same time as the U.S. network station carried by the local cablevision companies, those companies were forced to feed the Canadian station’s programming on both the Canadian and U.S. channel. This process is known as Simultaneous Substitution and is mandated by the CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulator.