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Drive-by birthdays: Calgarians celebrate kids’ special days with parades amid COVID-19 pandemic

Calgarians in vehicles wished kids happy birthdays as they paraded through their neighbourhoods on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Calgarians in vehicles wished kids happy birthdays as they paraded through their neighbourhoods on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Global News

With gatherings limited to 15 people and physical distancing measures in place, Calgarians are finding other ways to make birthday girls and boys feel special during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People decorated their vehicles and offered drive-by birthday wishes to Calgary kids on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
People decorated their vehicles and offered drive-by birthday wishes to Calgary kids on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Global News

Kamie Densmore reached out to different Facebook groups for help to make her son Robbie Maley’s seventh birthday special.

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About 25 honking vehicles decked out with colourful signs paraded by their Midnapore home on Sunday. Even a police officer sang “Happy Birthday” from the passenger seat of a cruiser.

“[Robbie] didn’t know about it until we actually walked out the door today,” Densmore said. “Just thought it would be something to make his day special.”
Birthday boy Robbie Maley and mom Kamie Densmore accept a gift from a vehicle on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Birthday boy Robbie Maley and mom Kamie Densmore accept a gift from a vehicle on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Global News

Densmore explained that it is an emotional time. While she is sad her son isn’t having the party she planned, she is grateful for people she doesn’t know coming together to make it memorable.

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“I’ve been crying since the first car came by — the fact that so many strangers would be willing to come out and do this for my son,” she said.

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano and his wife Lauren Giordano take part in a birthday train celebration on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano and his wife Lauren Giordano take part in a birthday train celebration on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Global News

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano and his wife Lauren Giordano joined the Bowness birthday train on Sunday.

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The pair along with a convoy of cars paraded through different neighbourhoods to wish children happy birthdays.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: All City of Calgary public events cancelled until June 30

Through the Calgary Birthday Train Facebook group, Annette Mitchell and her family have participated in parades.

“We put balloons outside our sunroofs or a sign on our car, and away we go,” she said. “We make as much noise as we can.”

But this time, the train rolled past Mitchell’s house for her son’s birthday.

“This is such a great big deal for us because we’re used to having birthday parties like everyone else and having friends and family over,” she explained.

“It’s hard to tell your children, ‘Sorry, not this year because there’s something scary out there that could harm all of us. In order to keep us all safe, we have to self distance and there will be no party.'”

READ MORE: Community members in dinosaur costumes wish Edmonton boys happy birthday amid COVID-19 pandemic

Her son Riley Mitchell, who is turning 12, said celebrating his birthday this way means a lot.

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“I wasn’t expecting that [many] people. It was really cool,” he said.