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Snow Angel Facts

Snow Angels

According to City Bylaws, property owners are responsible for removing ice and snow from city sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. Be a Snow Angel and help ensure everyone can safely get out and enjoy winter!

Calgary Paramedics say that being a Snow Angel is not only being a good neighbour, but could save a life! EMS typically sees a dramatic increase in calls for cardiac illness and arrest on days with heavy snow falls. Sudden exertion like shovelling heavy snow causes your heart muscle to work extra hard. Everyone, but especially the elderly, is susceptible to cardiac injury or arrest due to over exertion. Early recognition and treatment of cardiac illness is the key!

What is Snow Angels?
How do I nominate a Snow Angel?
Why is snow removal so important?
How do I become a Snow Angel?
What do I get for being a Snow Angel?
Who is responsible for snow removal?
What are the hazards/health risks involved of snow removal?
Who can report a bylaw complaint?
Who is held liable when accidents or damage occurs due to snow on sidewalks?

What is Snow Angels?

Snow Angels is a social marketing campaign initiated by The City of Calgary, Community & Neighbourhood Services, and Animal & Bylaw Services to encourage people to be good neighbours. The campaign encourages citizens to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks of their neighbours who may be less able to do it themselves – particularly older adults and persons with disabilities.

The City of Calgary Snow Angels Campaign was the first of its kind in North America. However over the last several years other cities have started their own. Currently there are a number of Snow Angel campaigns operating in Canada.

How do I nominate a Snow Angel?

Do you have a Snow Angel? Do you know someone who is a Snow Angel? We're asking for people who've had their sidewalk 'adopted' to officially recognise their snow angel. Call 311, contact Snow Angels online (takes you to a 311 Online Service request form), or mail a letter telling us your story to nominate your Snow Angel.

If you choose to complete a service request form through Snow Angels online, please include your home address on the first information box that appears. Then if you know the name, address and phone number of your Snow Angel, include them on subsequent information boxes. If you don’t know your Snow Angel’s name and/or address, we’ll send you a recognition package addressed to “Snow Angel” within 30 days for you to give them.

The City of Calgary, Community & Neighbourhood Services
Seniors Services - #184
P.O. Box 2100, Station M
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 2M5
Attn: Snow Angels
Snow Angels

Why is snow removal so important?

Snow that remains on sidewalks is a hazard to:

  • persons who have limited mobility and are at risk for falls. Persons such as older adults or those who have disabilities may suffer severe injuries in a fall on ice and/or snow. A fall on an icy walk could lead to an injury that would prevent return to one's home.
  • persons whose jobs require them to walk from house to house or who make home deliveries. Such persons deliver mail, read water/gas meters, voluntarily deliver for Meals-On-Wheels and visit those who are unable to get out.

Calgary's Aging Population

Calgary’s older adult population is growing and they will make up a greater and greater percent of Calgary’s population:

  • In 2011: Calgary’s population was 1,090,936 and in 2021 it will increase to 1,301,800. A 19% increase
  • In 2011: the 65+ population was 106,515 and in 2021 it will increase to 166,000. A 56% increase.

Calgary’s Snow Angel campaign will continue to play an important role in helping out older adults and those with mobility issues.

How do I become a Snow Angel?

You can become a Snow Angel by helping your neighbours clear the snow off their sidewalks. Talk to your neighbours. Offer to shovel the snow for them. Approach your community association to see if the community has a snow removal project or has considered developing a community based program to assist older adults.

What do I get for being a Snow Angel?

Snow Angels are not paid. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you've made a difference in the life of someone who will be able to stay in the house they love for a longer period of time.

Who is responsible for snow removal?

According to City Bylaws, property owners are responsible for removing ice and snow from city sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. If a sidewalk is not shovelled, The City may issue the resident a notice to clear the sidewalk within a certain time period. If the sidewalk is not cleared within that time, The City may have the snow and ice removed from the sidewalk at the property owner's expense. Actual costs vary depending on the length of the sidewalk and the amount of snow to be removed.

What are the hazards/health risks involved of snow removal?

The major health concerns arising from snow removal are muscle and back problems and heart attacks. It is suggested that people use caution by knowing proper body mechanics in shovelling and warming up with a sequence of stretches prior to shovelling snow. People with prior diagnoses of heart problems should use extreme caution. Another common risk in snow removal is falls on ice covered by snow.

To reduce your risk of injury or accident, check these helpful information links:

Who can report a bylaw complaint?

Bylaw complaints may be reported by neighbours, meter readers, postal delivery persons or pedestrians

Who is held liable when accidents or damage occurs due to snow on sidewalks?

There is no simple answer to this question. In cases of snow and ice on city owned portions of sidewalks, the city can be held liable only if the injured party can prove "gross negligence." On private owned walkways, (portion leading to house from sidewalk) the homeowner could be liable. If there is a tenant, then it would depend on any contractual agreements between the owner and the tenant. Contracts for maintenance with tenants, snow removal companies or other organizations can create complicated situations. Remember, every claim can be very different.