Hard times call to the best of ourselves. They are a test of character and spirit. I have been so inspired by the stories from our community of people rising to this test in creative ways to support their friends and neighbours. These actions highlight the best of what we can be, and they will help to knit our community fabric even tighter.
That is why I will be highlighting positive stories of community spirit and resilience, as part of a new recognition series called, Mayor's Community Champions.
Stay strong and stay safe,
Mayor John Borrowman
I would like to extend a most sincere thank you to our health care workers. Our local RCMP officers. Our Bylaw and Protective Services team. Our Fire-Rescue team. Our social services providers. The essential staff who keep our grocery shelves stocked and the town functioning. Thank you for stepping up for us, for putting in long hours, and for continuing to keep Canmore safe.
In return, there are some things we can do to show our appreciation. I encourage you all to take part in the daily 7 p.m. recognition of frontline staff. Open your windows and give a good holler. Bang pots and pans on your porch. Give them a round of applause from your driveway. This small gesture means a lot.
Most importantly, we need to do our part to prevent the spread. Please stay home. Avoid all unnecessary travel. Let’s lessen their load by stepping up to our job to keep ourselves and each other safe.
Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam recommends that wearing non-medical masks in public, while continuing to save medical-grade masks for health care professionals, can help protect ourselves and others in public settings when physical distancing isn’t possible. She says that these masks can be made from everyday household items such as cotton shirts, sheets, or bandanas.
Our Canmore locals have taken this advice to heart and have combined their creative talents with their desire to help our community. Several groups of talented seamstresses have put their sewing machines to work to make homemade masks for those in need. A mother-daughter duo has even shared how-to videos about how to make your own fabric masks.
In times of need, creativity is our best asset. I thank all who have stepped up to help by finding ways to put their unique skills to work.
Photo Credits: Samantha Welsh and Vladi Hudec
Since early January, the Bow River Lodge has been monitoring the unfolding situation. From hiring additional staff, to ordering PPE and extra supplies, to educating their residents, and limiting visitation to staff-only, their foresight has helped keep the Lodge residents safe.
Life has changed at the Lodge, but staff try to keep life as normal as possible for the residents. Although they are no longer able to hug family, residents are still able to take a stroll in the courtyard and take part in activities – all well respecting physical distancing guidelines.
Kitchen staff, support workers, and home care providers have found themselves on the frontlines of pandemic response. Many of them are New Canadians. Some of them had to give up second jobs to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. All of them have dedicated themselves to care for some of the most precious people in our lives.
I know we are coming together in appreciation of frontline workers each night at 7 p.m., and I encourage you to continue to do that. I also ask you to recognize the team at the Lodge and to show the residents that we are thinking about them. You can post signs on the Lodge’s fence, send letters of support, and give a wave while you walk by. By supporting each other, we stay strong.
#TheFrontStepsProject was started by photographers in the United States to capture photos of families on their front steps during the pandemic. Local photographers, Kristy Wolfe and Andrew Barron, signed on to the project and have been donating their services to capture this unique moment in our community. The result is a collective family portrait of Canmore and the people who build it, contribute to it, live in it, and call it home.
There has been a lot of talk lately about what it means to be a Canmore local. By sharing some of our favourite photographs taken for the Front Steps Project, we hope to introduce our community to itself. In the words of Kristy Wolfe, this project “helps us to see our family, friends, and neighbours and recognize our collective strength and resilience. But, perhaps more importantly, it helps us to see ourselves”.
Puffies and spandex may be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture Canmore, but our town is more diverse than you think. We are a vibrant community made up of New Canadians, people with physical differences, people with roots in other countries, people with different accents, and yes, people who wear puffy jackets. We are Canmore. And we need to come together as a community to get through this together.
Are you interested in getting a #FrontStepsProject family portrait?
?Visit kristywolfephotography.ca, or search Black and Light Images: Photography by Barron, on Facebook
When Amanda Barclay saw the events world coming to a standstill in the early days of the pandemic, she quickly saw a way to use her connections in the industry to help make a difference in the community…in one of the most surprising ways: recycling.
She reached out to community groups and businesses with an offer to pick-up recycling destined for the bottle depot, with the proceeds going to the Bow Valley Food Bank. In the first week alone, she collected a haul of bottles in the back of her minivan from over 60 homes across Canmore.
7 weeks later, Amanda has raised over 7 thousand dollars for the Food Bank – helping improve food security for those who need it most. Thanks to a growing team of volunteers and donors, this initiative champions environmental sustainability and community connection while helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Our individual actions, no matter how small, are powerful forces of change. In Amanda’s words, “volunteerism doesn’t have to be a lot to make a difference. It’s the little actions that add up.”
The first days of lock-down seem like forever ago. Main Street was empty, and many of us were hunkered down in our homes with growing uncertainty and anxiety. In those challenging weeks, our spirits were lifted by many local singers, artists, and musicians. One of these artists was the talented Ellen Braun, who performs with the band, Trundled.
In the darkest days of lock-down, she hosted a community sing-along of her song “Okay”. She shared the lyrics and melody online and then played the song on Mountain FM while church bells rang, and neighbours sang from porches and balconies.
In Ellen’s words, the sing-along was “a way to bring the community together. Even though we’re all in different parts of the Bow Valley … there’s nothing else that does it in the same way music does."
While many of us have transitioned to a new “normal”, normal hasn’t returned for all of us - especially those in creative industries. In the hardest times of the pandemic, music helped us through, with digital concerts and street-side serenades. Let us all find our own ways to give back to our creative community. You can start by supporting local artists. Ellen has compiled a Spotify playlist of Bow Valley local musicians so you can #listenlocal.
Being an active citizen in our community sometimes means stepping up to keep our town the beautiful place that we want to live in.
The Rotary Club of Canmore is setting a great example of local volunteer leadership. A group of 12 Rotary Club members have donated a couple of hours each week picking up litter along the train track trails and green spaces such as Quarry Lake. I deeply thank them for their work and volunteer spirit.
While our administration also works hard to care for our public spaces, they can’t get to every piece of garbage along the over 74 kilometres of trails that wind through Canmore. We can make their job easier by resisting the temptation to litter – including face masks and those little doggie bags.
Please use the municipal recycling, garbage, and food-waste bins provided for our community. And remember that there is complimentary large item pick-up offered by the Town of Canmore, so do not dump your household items beside garbage bins. Schedule a pick-up by calling 403.678.1580.
Let’s all do our part to help keep Canmore clean.