December 27, 2015
By David Purcell
10am, November 10. That’s about the time of the fire that burned down a series of units in Alpine, Whistler. It only took 10 minutes.
Unfortunately for myself and a bunch of others, we lived there.
Luckily no-one was hurt but the people lost more than just a place to stay. Clothes, possessions and memories went up in smoke along with the units. I can now tell you from experience that losing your home and stuff to fire is a pretty crappy feeling.
But this article isn’t about the fire, it’s about the amazing thing that happened after it.
Canadian community spirit is something that needs to be seen in action to really appreciate it. After the fire, many of us were left with little more than the clothes on our back and nowhere to stay, but the Whistler community banded together to support us.
The Red Cross were the first to step into the situation and found us hotels to stay in until we could find us a place to live.
Within a day, a Facebook support group had been put up on Facebook with people from all over the community looking to donate clothing and other items to us.
Soon after, the town’s conference center had opened one of its rooms for a donation drive, and before long there was more than enough clothes for everyone.
To see it in action was amazing. Never before in person had I seen a community come together like this in support.
That was a month ago. Since then, we’ve had even more offers and donations from people and businesses around Whistler. Two fundraisers have been organized and both were huge successes.
Many of us have found places to stay with help and advice from others. To keep us distracted from past events, we were given tickets to attend the local Cornucopia (a rather splendid food and drinks event), dinners and even the local cinema offered free screenings for us.
It’s been an emotional time for me and others. While distraught to have lost our homes, I feel we gained something greater.
New friends, the knowledge that we are surrounded by people that care, and a hopeful new chapter of our lives where we recover from what was lost.
Whistler has been an amazing place to me in so many regards and no matter what the future holds, it will always have a special place in my heart.
Canada as a whole is an amazing country and I am proud to live here. ‘Milliún go raibh maith agat’ is the Irish for ‘a million thank yous’, and Whistler and its people deserve just that.
David is an Irishman working and living in Whistler, Canada. He has been working as a recruiter for Moving2Canada since August 2015, however also delves into writing blogs from time to time. He’s an avid outdoor enthusiast, and is seeking to see the world.
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December 27, 2015
By David Purcell
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