Seventeen days ago the streets of Calgary flooded as the Bow and Elbow rivers overflowed their banks after days of heavy rain and an unusually high snow melt from the mountains. It was like “the perfect storm” that came together all at the wrong time, forcing many neighbourhoods to be evacuated at a moment’s notice. The city’s downtown core had to be closed for nearly a week after the electricity was shut down. Some people have still not returned to their homes, two weeks later. Some may never return home, their houses or apartment buildings having been condemned. As I said in this blog post on June 25th, 5 Reasons Why I ♥ Calgary, in spite of all that happened these past seventeen days (and continues to happen!) the city of Calgary is bouncing back and I have no doubt it will recover. It will never be the same city it was. I believe it will be a better city!
So here are 5 more reasons why I still love Calgary . . .
1. Not only did the Calgary Stampede go ahead, as planned (although on a bit of a smaller scale with a few venues affected and events cancelled), but the city cleaned up good and the Stampede Parade marched through those very same streets that had been completely flooded only 2 weeks before.
And that great sense of humour was still intact!
Commander Chris Hadfield had agreed, via a Tweet from space, to be this year’s Parade Marshall. He shared that honor with Calgary’s First Responders who worked so hard during the flooding to protect victims and restore the city. Mayor Naheed Nenshi also rode in the parade, as he has done every year since being elected.
2. And speaking of Mayor Naheed Nenshi – Events would have unfolded quite differently had Nenshi not been in office. He proved himself to be a great leader, and I know many people across Canada were very envious that their mayors did not even come close to matching up to Nenshi’s example. But the man is totally humble about the part he played and has always claimed, “This is Calgary!” Here’s a humorous take (from The National Post) on what Mayor Nenshi may have been thinking during the week following the flood.
He also stars in this terrific video promoting the new Calgary Tourism campaign to lure tourists back to the city.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi . . . Thank you! Just, thank you! It’s impossible to say any more than that.
3. Calgarians are being so creative about all of this! Here’s just one example of a song and video inspired by the flood. Calgary Flood Song – “Hell or High Water”
And here’s another, Calgary Floods 2013, by a local hip-hop artist. (Net proceeds from the sale of this song will go to the Calgary Drop-In Centre.)
I don’t think it will be long before we see books and poetry being written and published about this flood. (Please let me know if you have anything in the works and I will promote it for you on this blogsite and through social media.)
4. There were SOOOOOOOOO many people who volunteered to help their neighbours, including many companies affected by the flood that turned around and donated money to the Flood Relief and Canadian Red Cross, or who opened their doors to serve food and drink to flood victims, first responders, and volunteers. These same companies are also spearheading fund-raising campaigns, events, and ways to help those displaced by the floods.
The Enmax Corporation created this video thanking the people of Calgary for helping, for never giving up, and for making it possible for Enmax to get the power back on again. How often do you see a major company thanking their customers? Beautiful!
But then, that’s the Spirit of Calgary!
5. The Book Community in Calgary has always been dear to my heart, because I’ve spent the entire time I lived in the city working with books, in one way or another.
It was with great sadness that I read about the complete loss of Tom Williams Rare and Used Books. Mr. Williams had been in business in the city since 1958 – and he lost absolutely everything, including some extremely rare and valuable books.
As well, Pixie Hollow Bookshop in High River, an independent store, was completely wiped out, as was the entire town of High River. Other independent bookstores from across Canada came to their rescue immediately, organizing a day to raise donations from their own profits with all money going to Pixie Hollow. The local owners of Pixie Hollow do hope to rebuild their store.
This is from the Facebook Page of Owl’s Nest Books in Calgary:
Since the Alberta flooding began, Owl’s Nest Books has been receiving generous offers from fellow independent book stores across Canada, who are donating 50% of their sales on Saturday, June 29th 2013. We are overwhelmed by their generosity and would like to pay it forward by placing those funds in an account for Pixie Hollow Shop, High River’s independent book store, who have lost their entire inventory to the flood and who fear the store will need to be rebuilt. We will also be adding 50% of our own sales on Saturday, June 29th 2013.
Participating stores are (so far):
Galiano Island Books (Galiano, BC)
Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore (Toronto, ON)
BookLore Orangeville (Orangeville ON)
Owl’s Nest Books and owlets (Calgary, AB)
Blue Heron Books (Uxbridge, ON)
Please consider making a purchase this Saturday to support Pixie Hollow Shop in High River.
And Pages on Kensington has offered to replace books lost in the flooding. This is from Pages’ Facebook Page:
Hearts overflowing. Books are a life line
If someone you know is missing books, we can take a donation to their account. Yes, we can set up new accounts for people, keep their credit in our computers and they can come and shop. Calling the store is the best way to do this, as we don’t wsnt people sending their credit information online.
This is small, but what we can handle. We know that you are just starting to go through your stuff, but make a list of your books that you have lost, and bring it to us before July 9, and we will see if we can replace them at cost. No shipping charges, natch. We’ve already heard from several publishers who would like to up the discount to pass onto flood victims… including the wonderful Coach House Books who immediately offered to donate all the books they can. Kudos, and thank you!
And nationally, from Indigo Books:
Our hearts are with all those who have been impacted by the devastating floods here in Alberta. For the next two weeks, we will be raising money in support of the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Flood Relief efforts. Please visit any of our locations to donate.
If I were still in Calgary, you know I’d be organizing a way for the local writing community to raise money. I have donated copies of my book to be sold with all monies collected going to the Calgary Flood Relief Fund. I wish I could do more. Perhaps when I return there in August.
I LOVE YOU, CALGARY!!!