Santa Christina is a city in Georgeland and the capital of the state of West Mainland. It was known as Weston from 1843 to 1911, and was the capital of the nation from 1891-1911. Prior to West Mainland's creation in 2000, the city was the capital of Mainland. The city has a population of 3,535,941 (2002) and takes up approximately 954 sq. km of urban area, making it smaller than Greater London. Santa Christina is Georgeland's second-largest city, after Doubledance. A resident of Santa Christina is properly referred to as a Christinian, although the terms Santas and Baysiders are commonly used to describe the city's residents.
|City of Santa Christina|
|Motto: "Spirit of the Bay"|
|Metro Area|| |
|Population|| 3,876,532 (2007 est.) |
3,535,941 (2002 census)
|Location||188.8.131.52 S, 70.20.02.49 E|
|Elevation||Sea level to 132 m.|
|Members of Parliament||32|
|Governing Body||Santa Christina City Council|
|Time Zone||GWST (OTC +5)|
|Postal Code||WM001 to WM067|
There is some evidence that Chinese sailors reached the area of the western Mainland coast as early as 1470; however, these claims are disputed by several historians. The first recorded European exploration of the area occured in 1773. After Juan Delmago's discovery of Delmago Island and Scoita on his first voyage, a subsequent voyage by English navigator Sir Richard Stokes charted the western and souther Mainland coasts in that year. In 2004, Dutch historian Wim Van Doeven claimed to have evidence of a Dutch charting of the area in the 1620s, but these claims as, as with the claims of Chinese discovery, widely disputed.
Weston's central location and natural harbour attracted commerce, and with the settlement of the rest of Mainland in the 1820s and 1830s, the town soon became prosperous and commercially important. The city became the colonial capital of Georgeland in 1836, when self-government was granted. By 1860, Weston had 57,000 residents. It was formally designated as a 'city' in 1877, despite having a population of 167,000, much greater than that of other official cities both in England and elsewhere.
In 1891, when Georgeland became independent from Britain (while remaining a 'Dominion' and loyal to the Crown), Weston was chosen as the provisional capital. Due to disputes between Weston and other cities, who believed the capital should be relocated, agreement to designated a new capital (Topstad) was made. Weston remained the capital of Georgeland until 1911, when it transferred that status to Topstad. That same year, the city was rechristened "Santa Christina" after the flagship used by Juan Delmago on his first voyage to Georgeland. The name "Weston" continued to be used for some time, and the modern day borough of Weston retains this original name.
Throughout the 1920s, Santa Christina benefited from a high standard of living and economic growth through its status as Georgeland's most prominent port city. The benefits of being the state capital also brought tourism and infrastructure. By the stockmarket crash of 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, Santa Christina had become a vibrant, economic powerhouse.
Under Garretty's administration, the city began its transformation from the financial capital to the cultural capital of Georgeland. Garretty introduced extensive public works programs designed to reinvigorate the city and help it recover from the economic slump of the Depression.
The city's local government was re-organised in 1948, giving the Santa Christina City Council authority over the entire metropolitan area and abolishing the other local councils throughout the city.
In 1963 the city suffered an earthquake that destroyed several buildings, but no lives were lost. The city was less fortunate the next year when two harbour ferries collided in the bay, resulting in the loss of 56 lives.
The city continued to prosper as the country's most affluent city throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1977, the Mainland state government agreed to the construction of a nuclear power station, the Point Freeman Nuclear Power Facility, at Point Freeman in the city's western industrial sector. The plant completed construction and began operating in 1981.
The island of Garretty Island was named for former mayor Garretty in 1978, renaming it from its original name of Fortune Island.
On November 24, 1995, the Point Freeman reactor suffered a leak, and hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated. The chaos this caused completely paralysed the city. Despite calls from Prime Minister Campbell Rhodes, President Donald Davis and Mayor Stuart Messner not to panic, one person was killed and dozens injured in the rush to escape the contamination zone. The actual leaking of radiation was negligible, and the plant's reactor, in danger of meltdown, stablised. However, the plant was closed temporarily until May 1996 and afterwards shut down completely. The plant has been inactive ever since. The Point Freeman crisis made international headlines worldwide and led, indirectly, to Georgeland's strict anti-nuclear stance.
In 2004, Lois Daniels was elected Mayor, the first third-party member to win a Mayoral election in a major Georgeland city.
In 2006, Santa Christina becamw the first city in Georgeland to enable complete wireless internet access for its entire CBD.
Santa Christina is located around Mulligan Bay, a natural harbour approximately halfway up the western coast of the island of Mainland. Santa Christina is spread out around the bay's circumference, with its central business district, usually referred to as Santa Christina Central, located on the bay's eastern shore. The city covers 954 sq. km of metropolitan area, making it smaller than Greater London.
Mulligan Bay contains several islands - the largest of these, Garretty Island, is a borough of the city in its own right and is located almost directly in the middle of the bay. Other islands, such as Walker Island and Jorgensen Island are used as nature reserves or for light development.
Santa Christina's natural terrain is temperate pine and conifer forest. These forests have been largely destroyed in the name of urban expansion - a series of environmental reforms in the 1980s preserved the remaining forests, which now surround parts of the city's outskirts.
In recent years, the city's air quality has declined, due to the high number of cars. However, Santa Christina's industries are increasingly high-tech and do not produce heavy concentrations of either greenhouse gas or other carbon emissions, and air quality has shown improvement in the past 3-4 years. The current city government is committed to improving air quality through tighter regulation and investment in cleaner industry.
GovernmentLike most local government jurisdictions, Santa Christina is run by an elected Mayor and a city council. Before the Second World War, the city council chose a Mayor (Lord Mayor before 1948) from among its number, as is done in Britain - the mayor is now directly elected by the city's residents every four years.
After local government reform in the post-war era, the city's eight different councils were amalgamated into one. The Santa Christina local government controls the entire city, much as American local government does. Each 'borough' of the city, however, has a borough council and a local Borough Chairman, who fulfil limited functions and advise the city council. The current Mayor of Santa Christina is the Hon. Greg Parker of the Conservative Party of Georgeland, who was elected in 2008. There are currently 35 members of the city council.
Santa Christina is Georgeland's most affluent city, as a measurement of gross income. This has led to a perception among many that the city is "elite". Despite this, there are a number of blue-collar industries in Santa Christina, particularly shipping and construction, which contribute between them almost $3 billion to the city's economy.
However, since the mid-1970s, Santa Christina's economy has been based in high-tech industries, especially the computer and electronics industries. The city is also a leading developer of communications technology.
So-called "white collar" industries such as the financial sector also contribute considerable amounts to the city's economy. The city is considered to be Georgeland's "financial capital", and almost all major Georgeland banks and financial institutions have their national office in the city. A number of international corporations also call the city home, including the Georgeland subsidiary of NewsCorp, GeoNewsCorp.
The Georgeland Stock Exchange, or GSX, is located in Santa Christina because of the city's financial prominence.
Tourism also forms a large part of the city's industry. The city has, in recent times, begun a national campaign to promote itself as a popular tourist destination.
The city ranks first among Georgeland cities as the most common tourist destination for international visitors - almost 40% of all visitors to Georgeland visit Santa Christina.
The city's budget has operated in deficit for some time. The current administration handed down the first budget in the black for fifteen years in 2006.
Santa Christina has been at the forefront of Georgeland's artistic community for several decades, since at least 1957 when the first Santa Christina Cultural Festival was held. In the fifty years since that event, Santa Christina has been seen to become the country's foremost artistic community and the 'cultural capital'.
The state gallery located in the city showcases local and international artists, with artists from Santa Christina and West Mainland recieving prominent positions in the display. There are a number of smaller galleries, such as the City Gallery that also display local works.
Local artists such as Max Kelly, John Winters, Morgan O'Dowling and, in recent times, Julia Credlin and Paul Fleur have won acclaim both in Georgeland and elsewhere.
The city is famed for its art. In 2000, a large mural was painted along Sparkman Street in the city's CBD expressing the theme of "Family". Every year since, the mural has been repainted with a different theme. In 2002 the theme was "Hope" (a reaction to the September 11 attacks), and in 2007 the theme was "Climate Change".
The city is also home to the Santa Christina Museum, which has a permanent collection of some 9,000 items and is second only to the Georgeland National Museum in Topstad as the country's largest museum.
Santa Christina is also home to the National Maritime Museum. The former United Islands Navy vessels Cerebrus and Tamworth are present here and open to tourists.
Santa Christina's theatre scene has, like live theatre nationwide, declined in recent years. Attendances at live performances are still popular, however, at least among the more affluent citizens.
The Santa Christina Performing Arts Centre, finished in 1996, is a popular venue for both theatre and other live performances. The city also has an Opera House, which is still referred to as the 'Royal' Opera House despite Georgeland's republican status.
During the annual cultural festival, performances from around the nation and the world are seen in Santa Christina. In recent years this has included comedy performances, and live stand-up is now a popular attraction in Santa Christina.
At the forefront of Georgeland's musical scene for some time, Santa Christina has produced a number of popular artists who have achieved success both overseas and in Georgeland. The most well-known group to come out of Santa Christina is The Bandits, fronted by local brothers Sam and George Carnell. The city played an important role in the development of Georgeland's local music industry because of its status as a point-of-entry; music from Europe and the United States mostly entered Georgeland through Santa Christina.
During the 1970s, Santa Christina was the home of Georgeland's fledgling punk scene, borne out of working-class frustration with the elitism that many saw was beginning to permeate the city.
Classical music is also popular in Santa Christina. The Santa Christina Philharmonic Orchestra and its sister the Santa Christina Symphony Orchestra are internationally renowned.
Santa Christina is home to the Santa Christina Herald, the country's oldest and arguably most respected broadsheet. Several other newspapers service the city, from the city-wide tabloid paper The Daily News to more local publications like the Birmingham Chronicle or the New Westoner.
All four commercial television networks broadcast programming to Santa Christina, without major, if any, change in content. The only station to have a direct affiliate is Channel 6, which broadcasts through affiliate TV-6, but content is unaffected. All four commercial stations have their national headquarters in Santa Christina.
The two non-commercial networks, The GBC and GTV also broadcast to Santa Christina. These networks are national, but Santa Christina has a dedicated news bulletin for each, as it does with the commercial networks. Santa Christina is a common location for recording of television programs. Most notably, Cryer Tonite is recorded from the city, though not usually live-to-air as with other programs.
The city is serviced by dozens of local radio stations. The most popular station, Double Zed, services all of Santa Christina and as far north as Chipwich, and forms a part of the FMNetwork of metropolitan radio stations. Double Zed broadcasts on the FM frequency of 101.8.
Santa Christina's home football (soccer) club is Santa Christina United, and the team's high profile and success rate have earned them a level of support verging on the religious in the city. In 2005, mayor Lois Daniels issued a proclamation honoring the team's contribution to the city and unveiled a sculpture devoted to the team near Leyton Park Stadium. The stadium itself is Georgeland's largest, and is home to the national side as well.
Other than SC United, a number of other sporting teams have a strong following in Santa Christina. In soccer, Northbay United, Birmingham FC and Weston City also have local followings, though none of these teams has played in the country's First Division since 1979.
The Santa Christina Bulls (rugby and Weston Coyotes (basketball) also have a large fan base. Both of these teams have been successful in national competition, though not as consistently successful as SC United.
The city has a number of local leagues for most popular sports, mostly amateur but a few semi-professional. Junior leagues for soccer, basketball and rugby are commonplace, and most public and private schools run junior competition leagues.
The city has a large number of Sports Parks (the local term for what in other countries would be called an 'oval' or 'ballpark'), in which community leagues play, mostly on weekends. Some community games have proven quite popular, and local leagues are a common passtime for sports fans.
Santa Christina has bid to host the Olympic Games twice, in 1976 and in 2004. In 1976 it was one of the final bidders, but lost the 2004 event to Athens early in the process.
The city has also bid five times to host the Commonwealth Games, in 1982, 1990, 1994, 2002 and for the future 2014 event. While the city is yet to host the event, the city is considered a serious candidate for the 2014 event, and has placed an official bid.
Parks and Gardens
The city contains a number of parks and gardens, especially in its more affluent areas. The Santa Christina Botanic Gardens are a 400ha attraction in the city's northwest that intersects the Holloway River that runs through the city's outskirts. The Botanic Gardens contain a variety of local flora and are used both as a tourist attraction and for legitimate botanic research.
The largest two parks in the city's central business district are Hyde Park and Sadie Muller Park. Sadie Muller Park is famous for being misnamed as a result of vandalism - the park was named after Sadie Mueller, an alderman's wife, but during the Depression the "E" in "Mueller" was removed and not replaced. The park has been designated officially as "Sadie Muller Park" since the 1960s.
Santa Christina has a thriving entertainment community. Theatre and cinema are popular passtimes, and sporting events are well-attended, even at the amateur level. Live music venues abound in the city, and Leyton Park Stadium has attracted big-name acts in its history. The city has a vibrant pub and club scene, and most establishments are open until early morning, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The city is home to a great many national entertainment figures and has produced some extremely popular music and television. Jim Cryer's Cryer Tonite program is produced in the city, as is satirical news show Here Isn't The News and many others. The very first Georgeland TV broadcast, made in October of 1954, was sent from Santa Christina, and the country's first TV station, TV-1, operated from Santa Christina from 1954 until 1970, when it merged with Channel 6.
Santa Christina in Culture
Santa Christina is considered as Georgeland's cultural capital, and in many ways is the country's best-known city. Many Georgeland films and television programs are set in the city. The city makes frequent appearances in overseas broadcasts. Santa Christina was featured in an episode of The Simpsons entitled The Madness of Georgeland, and has also appeared in large-budget hollywood productions, including the blockbuster action film Fuel (2000), which provided a tourist boost to the city for a time. The city is also known as the site of the Point Freeman Nuclear Facility, which nearly suffered a meltdown in 1995 and has an infamous reputation among anti-nuclear crusaders. References to Point Freeman are also common, frequently linked to Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Santa Christina is home to two of the nation's most prestigious tertiary institutions - the University of Santa Christina and the University of Mainland, though that institution has another campus in Doubledance. The second-oldest school in the country, and the oldest in West Mainland, is St. Mary's Public School in Weston, and the oldest secondary school in Georgeland, Malvern College, is also located in Weston. Approximately 29% of Santa Christina's primary and secondary students are enrolled at private schools. Of these, the largest and most prestigious, as well as the most expensive, in Georgeland is King's Grammar, located in South Weston. 58% of the city's private schools are Catholic.
Other universities located in Santa Christina include the West Coast University of Technology, Plymouth University and Northbay Technical College.
Infrastructure & Transportation
Santa Christina is furnished with an efficient public transport system. The incumbent city administration has made public transport its top priority while in office. The primary means of public transportation is the rail system, first opened in 1923 but expanded considerably in the decades since. The railway system is mostly subterranean, though there are above-ground lines across the city. The system is known as CivRail, and is a joint venture between a private operator and the city and state governments. CivRail has an excellent reputation among Christinians and is rapidly becoming many residents' primary means of commuting.
The city is also serviced by bus and ferry services. These services have declined in popularity since CivRail was revitalised in the 1990s, but still attract significant patronage.
Santa Christina has a reputation for traffic congestion, though some have claimed adamantly that this reputation is exaggerated. Recent roadworks have done little to ease the problem. The Daniels administration has attempted to redirect traffic away from some areas to reduce congestion, but these efforts have not been entirely successful.
Santa Christina is serviced by six major public highways. Of these, the most commonly used is Highway 1, which runs between the Mainland coasts and is the most common entry and exit point for Santa Christina.
Santa Christina's overall local government is further subdivided into eight "boroughs", each of which was formerly (with the exception of Garretty Island a city in its own right (prior to 1948). Each borough has a Borough President and a Borough Council, but these bodies are mostly community organisations and have an advisory role. Each borough, however, serves as a local council electoral district, or Ward. The northern suburban boroughs of Birmingham and Point Freeman each elect six councillors. Weston and South Weston are located in the city's south and consist mostly of affluent neighbourhoods, each electing five councillors. Garretty Island is a high-density area located in the centre of the bay, and elects three councillors. The Central Business District is the borough of Santa Christina, electing two councillors, and is the smallest borough by population. Cheltenham and Northbay are the middle-class areas in the city's eastern suburbs, and each elects four members of the city council. The current Borough Presidents are:
- Birmingham - Simon Jones
- Cheltenham - Amanda Holland-Clifton
- Garretty Island - Laura Wong
- Northbay - Ben Coates
- Point Freeman - Geoff St. John
- Santa Christina - Lee Flitcroft
- South Weston - Greg Parker
- Weston - Colin Dougherty
Well Known Christinians
- Melbourne, Australia
- Vancouver, Canada
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Buffalo, New York
- Kyoto, Japan
- Nanjing, China
- Karachi, Pakistan