Sunday, 10 April 2016

Brisvegas, Sydsburgh, Melbréal, Canbawa, Adelouis, Perdiego, Hobcouver, Launvannah, and Ballarisco: Australian cities and their North American counterparts

Many people in Australia refer to the city of Brisbane as "Brisvegas".  We've done it for years.  There are Australian cities that, in my opinion are far more similar to Las Vegas than Brisbane is (such as the nearby Gold Coast).  But Brisbane is still called "Brisvegas". 

What if we gave similar compound nicknames to other Australian cities based on the names of North American cities with which they share a similar character? 

Here are a few examples.

Sydsburgh (Sydney + Pittsburgh):

This first one may be a bit controversial.  If people compare Sydney to any North American city, it's frequently San Francisco.  This is largely because of two reasons:
  • Both cities are built around large (and scenic) bays.
  • Both cities have large and highly visible LGBT communities.

But the comparison breaks down after this.  San Francisco is noted for a sense of laid-back good will among people of various racial and ethnic groups, and a generally left-of-centre political and cultural vibe.  Sydney, on the other hand, is known for increasing tension among its residents of different ethnic groups, as well as its increasingly right-of-centre political and media scene, where even the left-of-centre politicians have a somewhat right-wing streak.

Perhaps Pittsburgh is a better fit for Sydney.  Both cities have a high level of ethnic diversity across the whole city, but people tend to live in homogeneous enclaves with neighbours of similar racial, religious, ethnic, economic, and social demographics. 

As well, both Sydney and Pittsburgh are also known for an eccentrically conservative religious scene, involving local expressions of a range of denominations and faith communities which are far more conservative than their confréres in most of the country.

And, actually a better Australian fit for San Francisco could be Ballarat, even if it is much smaller than San Fran.  Not that there's any big bay to speak of near the Begonia City, but both cities are mid-19th century Gold Rush cities, and the old buildings in both cities have the same sense of being over-the-top 19th century celebrations of serious new wealth.  Ballarisco:  it could work.

Melbréal (Melbourne + Montréal)

Matching my favourite big Australian city with my favourite big Canadian city seems to be an excellent fit to me. 
  • Both cities have a vibrant arts and entertainment scene.
  • Both cities are seriously elegant, in terms both of the architecture of their buildings and the bearing, attitude, and dress sense of their people. 
  • Both cities are among the success stories of multiculturalism in their nations. 
  • Both have vibrant Jewish and Asian communities. 
  • Both are Olympic cities. 
  • The residents of both cities tend to take themselves and their city a little bit too seriously. 
Montréalers aren't quite as sports-mad as Melburnians.  (In this regard, Melbourne people are far more like the residents of such "jock towns" as Boston and Philadelphia.) 

As well, Melbourne doesn't have Montréal's French cultural ethos (but then, neither does Montréal have Melbourne's Greek vibe.)

Nevertheless, Melbréal works for me.

Canbawa (Canberra + Ottawa)

Australia's capital city and Canada's capital city are a good fit with each other. 
  • Canberra was chosen as the capital because it was neither Sydney nor Melbourne, but it's between the two larger cities.
  • It's the same with Ottawa re Montréal and Toronto.

Both are major cities mainly because they're a seat of government.  Both have a range of educational, medical, arts, recreational, and entertainment opportunities that you'd expect to see only in much bigger places.  (In this way, these cities are also similar to a number of US state capitals that are neither the first nor second cities of their states:  Albany, Sacramento, Austin, Harrisburg, etc.)

Adelouis (Adelaide + St. Louis)

Adelaide is the closest big city to the middle of Australia, particularly on an east-west line.

St. Louis is one of the closest big cities to the middle of the US on both east-west and north-south lines.

Both cities grew quickly in the mid-19th century at least in part because of German immigration, with many of the new residents of the Deutsch persuasion being people who were annoyed that the King of Prussia was trying to make himself head of the Lutheran Church as well as the monarch.  (One big difference:  the St. Louis area Germans make beer, while the Adelaide area Germans make wine.)

Perdiego (Perth + San Diego)

Warm weather.  Nice beaches.  Modern public facilities. That's probably enough.

Hobcouver (Hobart + Vancouver)

Leaving the best until last, welcome to Tasmania.  Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is a bonsai version of Vancouver, the main city of Canada's west coast. 
  • Both are located on a rugged coastline. 
  • Mountains, the sea, and the city exist in close proximity to each other. 
  • Opportunities for all sorts of outdoorsy pursuits abound (for those who choose to avail themselves of them.)
  • For those of us whose leisure pursuits are more of an artistic, cerebral, or culinary nature, there are similarly plentiful opportunities.
  • There's a strong environmental awareness among the entire community, regardless of the orientation of our personal politics.
Hobcouver definitely rocks.

And, at the other end of this amazing island, welcome to Launvannah (Launceston + Savannah).  Tasmania's northern city has much in common with many of the older cities of the southern US, such as Savannah or Charleston, particularly in terms of the great collection of well-preserved older buildings around the city, along with many spacious parks, squares, and other public places.

The other advantage is that Hobcouver and Launvannah are only three hours' easy drive (including a reasonable stop for coffee) from each other, which is a far easier prospect than driving between their overseas equivalents.

In any event, welcome to Australia.  And, if you're from either the USA or Canada, please don't be surprised if somewhere in Oz reminds you of one of your favourite cities in your own country.

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