Calgary ‘snow angel’ clears neighbourhood with snowblower attached to wheelchair


He’s being called a “snow angel” by his neighbours, but instead of wings Martin Purvis uses his wheels and some ingenuity to help his community cope with the wintry weather.

After yet another heavy dumping of snow in Calgary last week, Purvis set out this weekend in his wheelchair armed with only a piece of rope, a carabiner and a snowblower. With the rope tied between the sides of his wheelchair and a carabiner latched to the end of it, Purvis managed to attach his wheelchair to the snowblower so that the machine actually pulled him in his chair.

“I thought of the idea because we have this rather large snowblower,” Purvis told CTV Calgary on Tuesday. “It is self-propelled. It’s got several forward speeds and a couple of reverse speeds and I felt maybe there was some way that I could manage it.”

He initially tried holding the snowblower steady in his hands, but the machine tipped backwards in his grip. Next, he attempted to tie the frame of his wheelchair to the sides of the snowblower’s handles, but he found turning to be a problem. Finally, Purvis figured out that a single pivot point using the carabiner allowed him to fully manoeuvre the machine while it pulled him along.

“Once I got started, I was having so much fun I couldn’t stop. I did the entire block and then I started on people’s driveways and cleared several driveways,” he recalled. “It was a lot of fun.”

His neighbours watched in awe as Purvis cleared the snow.

“He’s an awesome man and a huge inspiration I think to all of us,” one of his neighbours gushed.

Chris McGeachy, from City of Calgary Roads, also commended Purvis for his actions.

“We also remind citizens to be a good neighbour, be a snow angel. Myself, I actually shovel my neighbour’s walk because they have limited mobility. It’s a good thing to do and it helps us all get around safer.”

Despite the fun he’s having clearing the snow, Purvis said he’s looking forward to spring and storing his snowblower for a while.

With a report from CTV Calgary’s Brenna Rose