It’s official. What local residents already knew has now been officially decided – Maple Creek is Canada’s Greatest Western Town.
The Western Horse Review magazine ran a contest to find out which community people feel best embraces its western heritage. Competing against 31 other communities, Maple Creek came out on top and earned the title last week.
According to Kari Siegfried, the magazine’s marketing manager, a call for nominations for Canada’s Greatest Western Town was put out on their social media and in their publication.
While it is unknown who nominated Maple Creek, Siegfried said the reason given for the nomination was, “The western spirit that’s there all year round, and that was continued to be said throughout the voting process – that it’s more than just a rodeo – it is a way of living in Maple Creek.”
“I think it (the contest) was really successful. We had a lot of votes coming in, a lot of people were really excited about it. If the contest closed at midnight we had people at 12:15 asking who won this round?”
“It was picked up around social media and people shared all over the place to get votes. I think people were having fun with it too,” Siegfried added.
Royce Pettyjohn, manager of community and economic development, says winning the title will benefit Maple Creek.
“I think that it means a great deal. When you look at the 32 communities that were nominated for the honour, many of them were communities that also have a longstanding western heritage and also much greater populations than what Maple Creek has. And I think the fact that we were able to come out on top indicates that not only is our western heritage alive and well, but there’s a great deal of community spirit because it would seem that everyone in the community rallied to vote and encouraged their friends and relatives to vote.”
He said the entire region pulled together and got involved, including Medicine Hat and Swift Current where radio and TV stations covered the contest and encouraged voting for Maple Creek.
“I think that western brand not only resonates with our visitors, but also with people that live in the area.”
Pettyjohn noted that the contest brought tremendous exposure to Maple Creek through media coverage, facebook sharing, and all 32 communities involved would have been watching to see who came out on top.
The title of Canada’s Greatest Western Town is an excellent marketing tool and Pettyjohn says “this is just another way to get Maple Creek out there. It was probably one of the most successful campaigns and it didn’t cost us anything.”
Surprisingly, not just communities in Western Canada were nominated. Included in the 32 original nominees was Prince Edward Island, and Whitehorse, Yukon.
There were four rounds of voting where two communities were pitted against each other. The community with the most votes advanced to the next round. Maple Creek faced off against Wainwright, Alta. in the first round. The second round saw Maple Creek pitted against Vermilion, Alta, and in the third round we eliminated Longview, Alta.
The final round of voting to decide the winner saw Maple Creek and Ponoka, Alta. vying for the title.
The Western Horse Review is planning to feature Maple Creek in one of its future publications.