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Celebrating Calgary’s community spirit on Neighbour Day

By Jacey Conway, Federation of Calgary Communities

Six years after the largest flood in Calgary since 1932, Calgarians gathered to take part in annual Neighbour Day festivities and celebrate what makes this city so great– our community spirit!

On Saturday, June 15, communities across the city put on a wide variety of events such as BBQ’s, markets, carnivals, community cleanups, and even a tea party!

“Community is a sense of belonging,” said Whitehorn Community Association (WCA) volunteer, Pavit Sidhu.

“It brings a lot of people from all walks of life together.”

The WCA was one of many communities that put on a Neighbour Day event, choosing to include a community cleanup in their festivities. Families enjoyed door prizes, games, balloons from community partners, a BBQ lunch, and the opportunity to meet new friends and neighbours.

“We want to create healthier, safer, more inclusive communities…that’s really what it is all about,” explained Sidhu.

A family from Panorama Hills celebrates Neighbour Day with their “friendly” community.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi was inspired to declare the third Saturday of every June “Neighbour Day” as a way to celebrate Calgarians coming together to help one another during the 2013 flood. Neighbour Day celebrates the great display of community spirit shown by Calgarians during this time.

Six years later, Neighbour Day is still an anticipated event amongst Calgarians and a great opportunity for communities to reach out and meet their neighbours.

Toun Osuntogun, an Urban Planner with the Federation of Calgary Communities, attended the Strathcona Christie Aspen Community Association (SCA) Neighbour Day celebration and said the event was perfect for all age groups.

SCA kicked off their Neighbour Day celebration with a Stampede breakfast paired with live music from multiple local bands. Attendees were invited to enjoy great food,  bouncy castles, crafts, gymnastic stations, and connect with local businesses. The biggest hit of the day included a Lego competition for the children, with prizes for every participant.

“Even though I don’t live there I felt like I was welcome there,” said Osuntogun.

Two participants of the SCA LEGO competition pose with their projects and prizes on Neighbour Day 2019

For many Calgary communities, Saturday marked six years of hosting Neighbour Day gatherings, but the Northstar Residents Association was happy to be hosting their first Neighbour Day event at the Panorama Hills Community Centre.

Their busy event included live shows from musical performing group, Occasional Notes, as well as food trucks, lawn games, a splash park, and market vendors.

Christina Liu, a resident of Panorama Hills, was at the event with her daughter and said she has felt “welcomed” by her community time and time again.

“My community is family focused,” Liu said. “

It’s priceless.”

Two kids enjoy the splash park at the Panorama Hills Neighbour Day event, 2019.