Friday saw Dundee mark 135 years since it became Scotland’s first city – and it was fantastic to see so many recognise the day.
I was delighted seeing messages and posts on social media from Dundonians here at home and away, and also businesses too, all showing their love for Dundee and celebrating their links with the city.
When asking my followers on Dundee Culture what word they associated the most with the city – they said “home”.
And seeing institutions such as Abertay University, Dundee Rep, the Discovery, Verdant Works and HMS Unicorn posting about Dundee Day was nothing but special.
I launched a campaign for Dundee Day to be recognised in the “Days of the Year” calendar, and it was a success.
I was delighted to see the city’s anniversary be documented.
However, I am convinced this could be a major event in the city calendar if we do something to mark the occasion.
We should be looking at hosting in-person celebrations for the city to mark Dundee’s anniversary.
Many people referenced the Dundee 800 celebrations that took place back in 1991, which celebrated the city marking 800 years since it was officially made a royal burgh in 1191.
Events that marked the 800th anniversary celebrations included a major Hogmanay party that was televised to the nation, a series of concerts and festivals, a major fashion show, a rodeo in the City Square and much more.
Dundee needs to host more events
I believe we should host events similar to those held as part of the Dundee 800 celebrations, albeit on a smaller scale, with the exceptions of major milestones.
The Summer Streets Festival the city has frequently hosted is a great template for a festival that can be held each year to mark the city’s anniversary.
If you get the right sponsorship and support from governmental organisations such as Dundee City Council, then it can be done.
I always recall the council’s tagline in reference to Dundee’s ongoing redevelopment: “Dundee: Dare to Dream Big”.
We need to dream big. Because other cities big and small are managing to host events to celebrate their cities – and by extension, their anniversaries.
As I stated in my column a couple of weeks ago, I am heading off to Toronto in Canada in September.
When researching on things to do, I discovered that Toronto was about to host a celebration in the city to mark 190 years of its city status.
Its anniversaries have been marked annually thanks to a non-profit organisation called Celebrate Toronto which hosts events in the city centre each March.
I believe Dundee should be taking inspiration from events like this and hosting our own.
There is something special I believe the city could have that makes it stand out.
Dundee needs to dare to dream big – now more than ever.