Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, April 17, 2011

History Repeats, As Always

I was leafing through the paper the other day, and I found this article that caught my eye.

It looks like Jasper is going to get a Tim Hortons

Reading the article, I was instantly taken back to around 10 years ago, when it was announced that Japser would be getting a McDonald's.  There were mass protests.  People did not want it in their backyard.  It opened up anyway, and closed down after two or three years.  The official reason for the closing was the labour shortage...they couldn't find anyone to work there. 

As I'm sure you know, Jasper is a favourite place of mine.  I've been going there on vacation ever since I was a kid.  And Jasper has always prided themselves on being less commercially-developed than Banff.  I last went to Banff a couple of years ago.  And yeah, Banff really is for tourists now.  Big chain stores on every corner.  Throngs of tourists crowding the streets.  I was camping with my parents, and we needed some propane for the BBQ.  No one in Banff carries propane anymore, as very few people come to Banff to camp anymore.  We wound up going all the way out to Canmore to get propane. 

But Jasper, on the other hand, has fought very hard to retain their small mountain town charm.  There's hardly any chain stores.  The only major fast food chains that come to mind are A&W and KFC.  They've managed to protect themselves, and keep their small business community thriving. 

That was part of the reason of the protests against McDonald's all those years ago.  McDonald's is the ultimate symbol of commercialization...of course they didn't want it in their backyard.  Tim Hortons, though, while not as global as McDonald's, it is a big chain moving in. 

Jasper has to face pressure, though, right?  They have to feel the pressure to become as commercialized as other places in order to start brining in more money.  But then it can be argued that, with the focus on small business, you have the potential for more things like boutiques which bring in higher-end stuff. 

Oh, well.  I'm sure that Jasper getting a Tim Hortons is inevitable.  After all, one of the big selling points of Rocky Mountain tourism is to provide that Canadian experience.  And, according to the TV commercials, what's more Canadian than a cup of Tim Hortons coffee? 

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