CALGARY — Hundreds of grownups and children pressed up behind a purple banner Thursday as they waited for the chance to reconnect with furry, feathery, scaly and leathery friends at the Calgary Zoo.
A cheer went up when Mayor Naheed Nenshi ripped through the banner that read: “Welcome Back. We’re Open,” to officially throw wide all doors to the zoo five months after it was shut down by major flooding.
“Make no mistake. It was devastation to one of the most special places in our city,” said Nenshi.
“The mud, the silt, the broken buildings and the broken hearts were evident all over this island.”
About a third of the zoo reopened at the end of July, but the greater portion remained closed to repair damage caused by raging flood waters that swamped the animal park in June after torrential rains hit southern Alberta. The zoo is built on an island east of downtown and not far from where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet.
Forty buildings were severely hit.
The zoo was forced to move 160 animals to higher ground at the height of the flood.