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Camera: Meeting Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the first annual Urban Futures lecture

Man of the hour Naheed Nenshi

Man of the hour Naheed Nenshi (Image: George Pimentel)

September 20. Hard as it is for Torontonians to admit to envying anything Calgarian, this group of developers, architects and urban activists was practically drooling over Calgary’s mayor. Naheed Nenshi is a Harvard grad (okay, we had one of those, but still…) who advocates for walkable cities and was the grand marshal of the Calgary Pride Parade. He was in town to deliver the first annual Urban Futures lecture, put on by star architects Jack Diamond and Donald Schmitt at the glistening Corus Quay building (a Diamond and Schmitt design) next to Sugar Beach. “In his short time as mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi has grasped the issues facing cities better than anyone,” said Diamond. If it wasn’t obvious at the outset that this was the mayor most of the guests wished Toronto had, it was by the end, when Nenshi was peppered with so many questions that Diamond had to call time. As attendees spilled onto the patio for the reception, one guest was overheard saying, “He even pronounces ‘library’ correctly.”