It was only a year ago, that we took the entire family for a ten day tour of Alberta and attended the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. You may recall a series of blogs as we attended opening ceremonies, visited the fair grounds and stopped by Banff, Jasper and Canmore along the way. It’s amazing and truly hard to believe that a year has already passed and Calgary is back in the news but this year under much different circumstances.
As you are likely aware Calgary has made international news as they battle with the aftermath of terrible flooding. Parts of Calgary including the Saddledome, which is the main fair grounds for the Stampede, were literally under water. The Saddledome, an arena that can hold almost 20,000 spectators and home of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, was submerged up to the 10th row of seating! All of this within two weeks of the city’s biggest annual event.
The issues that the area are dealing are numerous, no garbage pick up, plumbing and sewage problems, emergency services are unable to efficiently get to people in need and business in the downtown core have all but shut down and the province continues to urge businesses to keep employees at home as the city tries to fix and clean up.
My sister, who lives in the inner city, was evacuated from her home and her and her family have been working from dawn to dusk to help the city try to recover. In speaking with her, I get the sense that although difficult and grueling, that the city and its residents feel enormous civic pride and are vowing to get things ready for the 101st Stampede!
Stampede officials are adamant that the plan will not change and they will hold the city’s annual event, despite the current issues they face. Two world wars and the great depression didn’t derail the greatest show on earth and neither will this flood. Stampede President Bob Thompson announced Monday the Stampede will run as scheduled from July 5-14.
Although I won’t be there this year, I will watch with pride and patriotism as the city comes together and delivers perhaps the most memorable Stampede ever. Good luck Calgary, your will and determination have already made us proud!