Town Center

The kids have developed a love since arriving here of the Town Center. We are within a 15 minute walk of Airdrie’s shopping district.

The shopping here in Airdrie is a constant complaint of the citizenry. I have heard everyone moan about it and how it is “not what it used to be.” But, on a recent trip I was amazed by the variety of retailers: clothing, butchers, bakers, key makers, cobblers, banks, opticians, attorneys, realtors, eateries, computer specialists, “five and dimes,” corner groceries, travel agents, a theater, a police station, a house of worship (and at least for a while a house of ill repute) card shops, book stores, pharmacies, furniture sales and more. It’s all there and all within walking distance. And, every day it is bustling with people.

There are so many, many towns in the states for whom the downtown is nothing but dusty, empty buildings, a shadow and a shell of what once was a busy place. In many places there are strenuous and most often only marginally successful efforts to revive the former “city square,” by converting former warehouses into “loft apartments” and granting retailers innumerable economic concessions for setting up shop in the old buildings. Even the more successful efforts remain novelties with little hope of ever becoming genuine shopping destinations.

But, there is nothing like what we have here in Airdrie. And the kids love it.

I think it is the convenience and in particular the freedom of indulging their interests on their own. “Dad, we’re going to city center, we’ve got some shopping to do.” And off they go, armed with their own “brolly” should the weather turn inclement.

They return like successful hunters, having visited the library and the pharmacy and the book seller and the office supply house. They are like little adults and seem to thrive in the adventurous spirit needed to find things out. I must confess I am pleased with them.

I am waiting, as it is only a matter of time, before they discover the train and the world at their disposal on the rails. But I hope they don’t lose their love for the town center when they discover the “real shopping” available in Glasgow.

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