Fort McMurray evacuees face bittersweet Mother’s Day in Calgary
Volunteers in Calgary and around the province did their best on Sunday to ensure Fort McMurray evacuees had a special Mother’s Day during uncertain times.
The nearly 1,000 temporary residents of the University of Calgary’s evacuation centre were treated to bouquets of flowers, a brunch and materials to construct cards for their loved ones.
Sunday’s surprise was the result of a busy 24 hour volunteer undertaking sparked by a last minute idea.
“I am hoping it just takes them a little bit away from those memories they are having of what they have just driven away from, what they have flown away from,” said volunteer Carolyn Maber.
Mayor Nenshi made an appearance at the University of Calgary’s reception centre on Sunday and said he hoped the evacuees could find a moment to celebrate Mother’s Day.
“We know there are a lot of people who are not with their families today,” Nenshi told the evacuees. “Of those who are, I hope you can enjoy a little bit of time together and a little bit of gratitude for being safe, for being here and being together in the community.”
Evacuees are being offered free admission to City of Calgary recreation facilities, the Calgary Zoo and Telus Spark during their stay.
The evacuation centres at the University of Calgary, SAIT and Ambrose University continue to accept the displaced residents of northern Alberta but are nearing capacity. Mount Royal University will accommodate the next wave of people in need of shelter.
According to city officials, the current demand for shelter has exceeded the demand that followed the flooding of the Bow and Elbow rivers in 2013.
With files from CTV's Jamie Mauracher