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Neighbour Day is back for its 10th year in Calgary

As we near the 10th anniversary of the 2013 southern Alberta floods, Mayor Jyoti Gondek reminded Calgarians of the impact of weaving strong bonds between neighbours.

On Thursday, Mayor Gondek introduced this year’s Neighbour Day celebration and how the city of Calgary’s community has grown since the 2013 floods.

Since 2014, Neighbour Day is a day to recognize the support and solidarity that took place during the Alberta Floods in 2013. From helping to lay down sandbags, to offering food and supplies, it’s a day to celebrate kindness. The day is typically celebrated on the third Saturday of June. This year, that falls on June 17.

The City of Calgary, as well as the Mayor, invite people across the city to celebrate this day with neighbours, whether it’s by organizing block parties or inviting the mayor to an afternoon cookout. 

“You can decorate your windows, you can decorate your yards. You can go out for a community walk, you can organize a cleanup, you can do any number of things just to celebrate that sense of community and you can get to know some of your neighbours a little bit better,” said Mayor Gondek.

Aside from the Mayor and other city officials, like firefighters, police officers and peace officers, the local community’s Councillor is also available as a guest. Some fire trucks will also be made available to rent for parties.

This year, the City is once again offering free permits for small block parties and park bookings. The deadline to submit these permit applications will be May 28.

“Make sure you show us how you celebrate Neighbour Day by going onto social media and using the hashtag #YYCNeighbourDay in your social media posts as part of the 10th annual Neighbour Day,” said Mayor Gondek.

The city is also holding a special one-day emergency preparedness event at The Genesis Centre on June 17th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

“This is a free family-friendly event, and it gives Calgarians the opportunity to learn how to prepare their household for emergencies, meet with local emergency service providers and develop some new connections within the community. Because after all, it is often our neighbours that we turn to in times of an emergency,” she said.

Small town feel: Coun. Spencer

Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer also spoke on the importance of Calgarians connecting with each other.

“We pride ourselves on being a city that is big and metropolitan but also has and maintains a small town feel with all the associated benefits of that small social network,” Spencer said.

“I would suggest to you that Neighbour Day maybe should be the Thanksgiving for your block and just like the Thanksgiving meal. The block party could be that point of reconnection and the place where you rediscover the beauty that is your neighbours and your neighbourhood.”

Aside from friendliness, neighbour-neighbour relationships also push for a sturdy support network, connecting struggling Calgarians to support systems. As citizens grapple with mental health or substance addiction issues, Coun. Spencer said to not overlook what can happen with small acts of kindness and connecting with the people around.

“One single relationship on a block could potentially be enough to keep somebody from tipping into a mental health episode or break,” he said.

“I know there are countless community builders across our city of Calgary building connections every day. They don’t just wait for Neighbour Day they do it every day. I want to say thank you.”

For more information on ideas and tips to do on this day, calgary.ca/neighbourday offers event planning kits and information about how to get permits and opportunities to invite city officials.