Without seeing the shadows that I would later come to appreciate, I considered my hometown, Edmonton, in the Canadian province of Alberta to be an isolated dot on an otherwise expansive map of disparate urban centers. As I became more conscious of the threads that shaped national, regional and municipal discourses, I came to realize that mine was a city that lacked, or at the very least, had a quality of being lacklustre. Canada's most populated centers – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – were cities that carried recognition and stature in the Canadian cultural milieu. Through their history and character, they are regarded as worthy of discussion and analysis in public discourse as their size, cultural and political influence evoked certain national and international interest. They are big and bustling, and generate an element of excitement that less prominent cities cannot quite capture or attain. In contrast, as a city relegated to the edges of national discourse, Edmonton has a way of falling short of expectation among residents and non-residents alike. The shadow that is cast upon the city has a way of becoming internalized, permeating the psyche of both the city and its inhabitants, while also revealing itself, often in derogatory terms, in larger national discourse themes.