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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Mayor rejects 'Deadmonton' tag
Athletes in training at the Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Edmonton's stadium: One of the city's attractions
The Mayor of Edmonton in Canada has hit back at suggestions by a British journalist that the city is a less than thrilling place.

The Daily Telegraph's Robert Philip, who is in Edmonton to report on the World Athletics Championships, wrote that a British athlete had dubbed the city "Deadmonton".

Since then, he says he has become "public enemy number one" as outraged Canadians flock to their city's defence.

Now its mayor Bill Smith has joined the debate, arguing that Edmonton holds lots of appeal for visitors.

We have the largest urban forest in the world, the largest shopping centre in the world, and we have put on five of the largest sporting events.

Bill Smith,
Edmonton mayor
And he has challenged Mr Philip to join him on a guided helicopter tour of the city to prove him wrong.

The argument began when the Telegraph published an article by Mr Philip with the headline "Deadmonton comes alive".

In the piece, Mr Philip wrote that Edmonton's charms were "less than obvious", and described it as a "visually unappealing corner of Canada".

Since then, he has found himself making the news in the city, with Edmonton's own newspapers and media outlets expressing anger at his comments.

After the stir caused by his first article, Mr Philip followed it up with another piece in which he promised to "say something nice about Edmonton".

This was followed by a lengthy description of what he said was the city's top tourist attraction, the West Edmonton Mall - "the world's largest shopping and entertainment centre".


Mr Smith was keen to point out his city's charms to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which he also said included the mall.

"We have the largest urban forest in the world, the largest shopping centre in the world and we have put on five of the largest sporting events," he said.

Edmonton was known as the "gateway to the north", boasting a diverse and flourishing economy, he added.

Mr Philip said he had been stunned by the reaction to his comments.

He said he had received crank phone calls to his hotel, and that a British journalist posing as him had been ejected from a restaurant.

But he stands by his views.

He told Today: "I deeply regret causing such offence. I had no idea I would be public enemy number one."

"It may be a lovely place to live but as a visitor, it keeps its charms well hidden.

"I cannot at this moment say that I would take another 10-hour flight to come back."

Dead end
Where's the most boring place on Earth?
See also:

03 Aug 01 | Our man at Edmonton
Stir crazy days in Canada
08 Aug 01 | Our man at Edmonton
Spare seats in the house
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