A warm Calgarian breakfast on a cold Carnival morning

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Calgary Quebec Exchange volunteers flip flapjacks in Place d’Youville on a frigid morning for the 61st Calgary Stampede Flapjack Breakfast.

    Bright sun and cold weather brought crowds out to Place d’Youville on Feb. 3 for the 61st annual Calgary Stampede Flapjack Breakfast. More than 4,000 sausages were roasted and as many flapjacks were flipped, to the delight of everyone. 
    Quebec City and Calgary are sister cities and annually participate in each other’s big events, namely the Quebec Winter Carnival and the Calgary Stampede. During these festivities, both cities showcase their hospitality and share their culture with a taste of home, like this year’s Calgary Stampede Flapjack Breakfast featuring Spolumbo sausages, flown in from Alberta. Following the event, extra sausages and flapjacks were served at Lauberivière, a multi-service shelter that offers lodging and a soup kitchen for homeless people in Quebec City.  
    People were happy to have a clear blue sky, despite the cold. The morning temperatures started at -25C before “warming up” to -20C, when the first flapjack-wrapped sausages were served at 9:30 a.m. This year, visitors wore their deep-freeze snow pants and heavy mittens. Those trying to warm up a little while eating their breakfast were treated to free coffee and hot chocolate from McDonald’s. 
    Among those enjoying their morning meal at Place d’Youville was Andrew Scheer, federal Conservative Party leader and MP for the federal riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, who was flipping flapjacks and serving breakfast alongside his party members. 
    Kathleen Smith, visiting from Edmonton, described the fulfilment of a dream for a long awaited trip to the Winter Carnival. “After completing my bachelor of electrical engineering last fall, I gave myself a vacation in Quebec City. I am enjoying the Winter Carnival, the Ice Hotel where I stayed a few nights, skiing at Le Massif, and now it is great to have a taste [of] home,” she said. The breakfast was free for everyone, with or without the $15 Carnival effigy. 
    “I am here with my grandchildren from Burlington, Vermont, to share a part of our heritage. My grandparents are from [Quebec]; they moved to America for better employment,” said David Bergeron. “I absolutely love the Calgary Stampede Breakfast and the Winter Carnival, and the Old City is so unique.”
    More than 40 volunteers, as many from Quebec as from Calgary, were on site flipping pancakes, roasting sausages and serving breakfast to long lines of hungry and happy people. 
    One particular volunteer stood out from the crowd – Caroline Debeaumier, wearing a top hat covered with effigies from each Carnival since the first edition in 1954. She enjoys seeing their changing design and loves to share her many stories. For years she has served flapjacks and sausages with a trademark smile to hungry Carnival-goers and passersby. 
    For more information on Carnival activities, visit Carnaval.qc.ca.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer spent the weekend with his family at the Winter Carnival, which included flipping flapjacks at the Calgary Stampede Flapjack Breakfast.  
(Photo by Cassandra Kerwin)