“Happy Birthday,” says Hay River Mayor Brad Mapes to hundreds of people each year, with compliments and photos thrown in for good measure.

Mapes uses his mayoral Facebook page to share community events; thank visitors for dropping by; give kudos and congratulations; and to wish residents a happy birthday, daily. since the start of his term nearly three years ago.

“One of the greatest things about our community is our residents,” he said. “We’ve got beautiful parks and great waterfalls, but our greatest asset is really our people.”

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Birthday shout-outs are an opportunity to recognize community members and everything they do for Hay River, he explained.

While Mapes averages a birthday message or two a day, he pegs his record at around 10 posts.

“I don’t get everyone but get a good mix,” he said, careful not to commit to never forgetting a birthday – although as the posts have become more popular, he has received plenty of help from community members reminding him of upcoming birthdays to highlight.

Over the years, the page has become one big online, ongoing birthday party.

Mapes added many people who follow the page no longer live in town and use it as a way to keep in touch with what’s going on – and take note of how old everyone is looking.