Today is your 101st birthday. Judging by the emptiness of the roads, apparently most Canberran’s have decided to celebrate such a momentous occasion by heading out of Canberra for the long weekend. But never mind that, because I’m here and ready to send out a bit of Canberra-appreciation, something that often gets lost amongst the jokes* that Australian’s (majority of whom don’t even live here) make about you.
Canberra, you are Australia’s best kept secret. Actually it’s not so secret anymore, what with being ranked Australia’s most liveable city and all. Good on you.
Some of the things that earned you the crown include outdoor recreation, education and safety. While I think all these are great, and very important aspects of who you are, I’ve decided that there’s a few more reasons why you are not only the most liveable city in Australia, but also, *gasp*, the best.
Firstly, in the past four years that I’ve lived here, I have not experienced a serious traffic jam (10+ minutes). I’d say that’s a good indicator that your layout is pretty darn awesome (Props to you Walter and Marion Burley-Griffin.) Sydney, you should seriously consider taking some pointers from our traffic council. Just sayin’.
Secondly, the weather. (Sure, one night it can be cold enough for you to haul out the winter pj’s and the next night you’re turning up the air conditioning in an attempt to find some relief from the 35 degree-and-rising temperatures, but what’s life without a little something to keep you on your toes?) Right now is my favourite time of year. The weather’s cooling down but it hasn’t been daylight savings yet, so the sun’s still staying awake long enough for spontaneous family barbeques. Another plus? Your unique fifth season, that of the hot air balloons, has arrived. And the rest of Australia, and indeed the world, takes notice. In fact, last year, the Darth Vader balloon made it onto the front page of Reddit, a pretty big achievement when you consider the millions of articles posted on the site per day.
And lastly, you made history when Australia’s first same-sex marriage was celebrated right here. Despite the high-court ultimately striking down the marriage laws, you, Canberra, are still the first place to start taking a stand against discrimination and head in the right direction towards equality for all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the bright lights and skyscrapers of bigger Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne. But at the same time, nothing beats coming back to your quiet, completely under-estimated presence and I feel so lucky to call you home.
So happy birthday, Canberra, you saucy minx. Don’t forget to stay awesome.
*You know how in Mean Girls it’s okay for Janis to make the joke that Damian is “too gay to function” because they’re good friends but when anyone else says that about him it’s mean? Yeah, same deal with the Canberra jokes: you can only make them if you actually live in or are from Canberra. Well, that’s how I see it anyway.