As the hours ticked by and the snow piled up, drivers stranded on Alberta’s Highway 1 got an unexpected serenade while stuck in a snowy traffic jam.
Southwestern Alberta got a blast of wintry weather on Tuesday as a band of snow swept across the region, dropping upwards of 40 centimetres in some areas.
Mackenzie Murphy, her boyfriend and his father were on their way from Banff to Airdrie after heading to the mountain town for a doctor’s appointment early Tuesday morning. She said when they reached Banff, they were met with “terrible conditions.”
As they were on their way home in the early afternoon, their journey stalled just outside of Canmore, near Lac Des Arcs. Over four hours later, the group was still stranded on the highway as of 5:30 p.m.
When a vehicle in front of them made an attempt to turn around on the highway and got stuck, Murphy’s boyfriend’s father jumped out and with a few others, tried to help the driver out.
After the ordeal, the driver got out of his car and pulled out a trumpet and started serenading the stranded drivers.
“I think it literally made my day,” Murphy told Global News over the phone from the highway.
“It was the most uplifting thing I’ve seen all of this day.”
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Murphy said despite the cold and nasty weather, the motorists were treated to more than one performance.
“He went back out after he learned everyone was loving it and played ‘O Canada’ and it was the most heartfelt moment,” Murphy said.
“It was pretty darn Canadian.”
The player himself, Jens Lindemann, is a world-renowned trumpet soloist.
The Alberta native has lived in sunny Los Angeles, California for the past 20 years. He told Global News he was on his way to Vancouver to play a concert when he got stuck.
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He said everyone on the highway was “in good Canadian spirit,” and he loved being able to build on that with his music.
“I had truckers honking and people cheering and people just making the best of it,” he said, adding he’d been sitting on the highway for about six hours, and that his concert had been cancelled.
“I’ve toured the world, but today I’m touring the highway between Canmore and Banff.”
He said the blast of snow was a “total shock” on Tuesday.
“I grew up in Alberta so I understand, but I’d forgotten,” he said. “I’ve never seen weather like this.”
According to Alberta 511, a jack-knifed semi-trailer near Lac Des Arcs had closed the highway in both directions. As of 5:30 p.m., officials said the westbound lanes of Highway 1 between Highway 1X at Seebee to Highway 1A at Canmore were re-opened, however, the eastbound lanes of the major highway would be closed for 60 to 90 minutes for vehicle recovery.
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