Update on the flood, and what you can do

I’m sure everyone is well aware now that Calgary has been in a state of emergency due to extensive flooding. Approximately 100,000 people – or one tenth of the city – were evacuated from their homes. Damage is incredible. I am learning that flood insurance is not something that is available in Canada, and so I cannot imagine the pain that some people – including people who are my friends, people who I am close to – are going through. Not only have their houses been damaged and their beloved possessions destroyed, but then there’s the sticky business of paying for all this damage. I can’t even begin to fathom it. Although the water is receding now and the city has turned a corner, the image of streets turned into rivers, our much-loved zoo being underwater, and water coursing through houses and neighbourhoods won’t leave me.

Here in my neighbourhood, and in other neighbourhoods far from the rivers on higher ground, it’s hard to believe anything has happened. The sky is blue, the streets are dry. We are so lucky. We are doing our best to help out by staying off the streets as requested by Calgary Police, and trying to help out friends affected. There is not much to do at this time except bake treats for the nearby police station and firehall, host people who need it, and wait until it’s appropriate to do more.

The great thing about Calgarians is that they really pull together. This city has great heart. Everyone wants to help. The city has not asked for cleanup volunteers yet, but when they do I’m sure there will be no shortage. Click here for frequently asked questions and click here to donate to the Red Cross to help out.   


Here are some things going on as a result of the flooding:

1) School Closures. Schools were closed on Friday and will be closed tomorrow. Since the last day of school was supposed to be Wednesday, this feels a little bizarre. Will the kids be back at school before school’s out for the summer? Telling the kids that there is no school tomorrow was less satisfying than I thought it would be. I expected excitement; instead I encountered deep sadness that the (make-work) projects that they had been working on over the last few weeks would go unfinished. The solution: a few make-work projects of our own. Mark is going to write a research paper on jackals and Jake is going to create some three dimensional objects out of construction paper. Ah, my little nerds.

2) Shopping Crises. After finding out late Thursday night that there would be no school on Friday, and also that the entire downtown was flooded and therefore no work for my husband, I decided to zip out to the nearby old-people grocery store to pick up my usual weekly groceries (I usually go on Saturdays). The store was packed. I got the second-last cart in the corral, and slowly dodged people with carts packed full of flats of bottled water. Drinking water was – and is – still excellent quality, but as a precaution I had filled the bathtub, kettle, and every single water bottle in the house. As yet I have not had to use them but Friday morning I felt, frankly, kind of silly being in the grocery store and not packing my cart with water bottles. I felt like maybe I SHOULD buy some water although I didn’t really need it. Then I noted that the shelves were being cleared of bottled water, at which point I started to feel panicky. What if the water did get turned off and I ran out of my home-filled bottles? I did buy a few single bottles although at this moment I feel kind of silly about it. I think I’ll donate them – the Morley reserve is in desperate need of bottled water, along with many other items. Don’t forget that we need to limit water use where possible to ease pressure on the treatment plants: short showers, running washing machines and dishwashers only when necessary, and – OBVIOUSLY – no watering of lawns, plants, etc., no washing cars. 

3) Non-Profiteering and Non-Looting. The police have been working overtime guarding evacuated neighbourhoods, and because of that reports of looting have been negligible. Also – and this speaks to the amazing power that is social media – one liquor store had been selling ice at $20/bag in an affected neighbourhood, and photos of this went viral. Ha HA. Another store was offering free ice to anyone in need, and that photo also went viral. Karma, crisis-style.

So that’s what is going on around here. Thanks to everyone for your concern and good thoughts. Ways to help if you’re local or not: Say thank you to the first responders. Help a friend in need. The need will go on for a long time after the waters recede. For those of you who have the means to do so, donations to the Red Cross will go a long way. The Boyhouse will resume its regular silly and frivolous posting later this week. Possible topics: mosquito infestations and fashionable rubber boots. Also – how to style your hair while anticipating a downpour. xoxo


  1. Thank you for this. So glad you’re safe.

  2. How bizarre it must be for you and the kids. Maybe we could see the make-work projects? I know next to nothing about jackals.

    I too am glad you are safe.

  3. Thanks – this is helpful. Can’t even imagine. I just saw World War Z, and one character says “people never believe anything is going to happen until it happens. It’s not stupidity, it’s just human nature.” I never would have believed this could happen, and the rebuilding needed stops my mind cold.

  4. Miss Elise says

    Love your heart Nicole.

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