Come Hell or High Water

Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede Grounds - City of Calgary Police photo

CALGARY – Come Hell or High Water. Calgary is vowing that the 2013 Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, the 101st annual edition will happen. The task, that to outsiders who have witnessed the devastation of the flooding in Calgary is a task almost big enough for the City of Calgary

Come Hell or High Water

The Calgary Stampede has never been cancelled in the one hundred years that the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth has been held. The show has gone on regardless of war, depression and now, it appears high water.

The Calgary Spirit, that special combination of hard work, entrepreneurship, pride and confidence is why the ‘Stampede City’ is one of Canada’s best cities. 

The Calgary Stampede is a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. The Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through its world-renowned 10-day Stampede, its year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. All revenues are reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede Grounds – City of Calgary Police photo

Honestly, if the boast that ‘Come Hell or High Water’ were being made by any other city, it would be way too easy to write it off as bravado.

However over the years, the ‘Half Mile of Hell’ and the biggest tournament rodeo in the world has seen lots of water on the grounds. Nothing like at the height of the flood, but wet enough that a cowboy thrown from a bull might have needed a snorkel.

Mayor Nenshi has said the Stampede might look a little different this year, but that in nine days the show will go on. It will likely be the community boost that further brings Calgary together.

Calgary is a City of Energy

Calgary is a city where the level of energy, and confidence is coupled with a volunteerism that is unmatched by anywhere in Canada, save perhaps Thunder Bay. Their volunteers are almost the same as the famed ‘Basement Bunch’ in Thunder Bay’s East End who worked hard to help those in need in the May 2012 Flood in Calgary.

Many might point to the Energy Company headquarters as the source of Calgary’s energy, but like most communities the real power and energy comes from the people.

In moving to recover from the flood, the speed of the recovery is going to take the full measure, and more to achieve the goal. It could be seen however earlier in the week when a call for volunteers went out and instead of the estimated 500 people, thousands of helpers showed up.

From Disaster to Recovery Fast

Calgary is moving fast to recover from a flood that likely would have other cities sitting back on their heels. Calgary Mayor Nenshi has remained focused, positive and has informed the world and his city usually with a smile on his face.

The depth of communications has been in a word, incredible and inspiring. 

Calgary Mayor Nenshi

The City of Calgary is demonstrating that a solid plan, a solid leadership team, and open communications across the lines are critical in a crisis. The Calgary Police have, for example throughout the crisis remained open to calls from media and citizens alike. It would have been easier to move into a mode of ‘Let us do our job’, but that simply isn’t the Calgary style.

If any place in North America can go from flooded out to dancing in the streets in under two weeks, it will be Calgary.

The full recovery might take as long as ten years as Premier Redford seems to believe. It is likely the real energy of Alberta and of Calgary will prove her wrong.

James Murray 

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