My son’s soccer team had a BBQ at the beginning of the season at a coach’s house so the parents and kids could get to know each other. It was the simplest, most natural, most Calgary thing to do.
And, as one does in this city, I volunteered to bring the burgers, buns, and treats for my son’s new team. It’s just how things go in Calgary, somebody always steps up to look after everyone else.
I hit up Sobeys for the supplies and grabbed some of the great Celebrate Canada products they have on offer for the season; Celebrate Canada Angus Beef Burgers (shaped like maple leaves!), Celebrate Canada Birthday Cookies, Celebrate Canada Maple-Flavoured Ice Cream Bars, and more…
When I first moved here, a friend explained to me that it’s just the prairie way; people help each other. When a cowboy needed a fence fixed, you helped. When they needed an extra hand with the cattle, a neighbour showed up. The spirit of co-operation is needed in a land where it can be 30 degrees one day and snow the next.
As I planned for my son’s BBQ and in the lead up to Canada Day, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be Canadian – and more so, Calgarian – and to me the most special thing is the sense of community.
Calgary has many occasions to celebrate community each year, the big one being- The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth; and while it may have a rodeo and fair as its centrepiece, it’s off the Stampede grounds where Calgary comes alive. Every single neighbourhood has at least one pancake breakfast during Stampede.
The idea is simple, you cook up a free breakfast and everyone shows up to meet and celebrate. The neighbourly pride and sense of community it brings with it is contagious. And that is what makes Calgary so great! Likewise, the idea of a “meet the team” BBQ such was such a neighbourly, natural, and typical thing to do.
In 2013, the neighbourly spirit of Calgary shone right through when volunteers overwhelmed relief centers to help in the wake of massive floods downtown. People opened their doors, rolled up their sleeves, put on their boots, and pulled together to rise above. That sense of community is celebrated each June with Neighbour Day. The city waives permit fees and encourages people to have block parties to meet neighbours, come together, and celebrate.
It’s a simple idea, it’s perfectly Calgarian, and it’s an idea that I would like to see spread. Canada, to me, is celebrated not with outlandish fireworks and grand gestures, but in the little things. It’s as simple as hosting a BBQ for kids and parents to connect over great food like we did this weekend. It’s people greeting refugees at the airport, it’s people making pancakes for strangers, it’s people pulling together to rebuild communities torn apart by disaster. When we foster pride in our local neighbourhood, our nation has a strong foundation to stand and grow.
So, raise your hand and volunteer to be the one to bring the burgers, bring the buns, and bring the treats. You’ll be glad you did and. there’s plenty of great Canada-pride products on offer at Sobeys to fit the occasion and make it easy for you!
This post is sponsored by Sobeys