YYC Flood, First hand – Updated

Warning: not a hockey related post

A close friend of mine happened to be one of the few souls in the downtown core Friday morning when the high waters began to crest the banks and flood the city. He was able to catch some firsthand shots of the devastation before fleeing which he has agreed I can share here.

(Apparently this interesting character was telling anyone who would listen that people in Winnipeg had to put up with stuff like this all the time.)

(The object you see below the tree is a submerged car)

(I was at the James Joyce on Wednesday to watch the game with some friends, readers and FN contributors. It’s awful and surreal to see it flooded like this just two days later)

(Glenmore reservoir)

(Finally, McKinnon Flats, just outside of Calgary)

Even pictures as close as this are a poor substitution for the real thing. It’s actually impossible to convey the true extent and the terrible majesty of the flood in Calgary right now. A native Calgarian since birth, I have personally never experienced anything like it.

All FN contributors seem to have come through this mess relatively unscathed. I am one of the lucky few people living in an area of town that is mostly unaffected by the disaster, though I would like to thank everyone who expressed concern and well wishes over twitter the last few days.

In contrast to all the terrible things have happened since Friday, I’d like to say that the city of Calgary, from it’s officials right to down the average Joe, has responded admirably in the face of a rare and nearly impossible situation. Mother Nature’s power has been awe-inspiring, but so too has the city’s ability to forge on despite it.


My friend has added some new shots of other portions of the city this morning. Mostly from the Glenmore/southeast portion of Calgary.

  • RedMan

    Thanks for the pictures Kent. Disasters like this are always a little bizarre, in that things are fine in one part of the city and horrid in another. It’s good to hear people are beginning to go home, though it sounds like downtown is going to have power issues for a while.

    That picture of the elderly man is the best of the lot. What character! The others are striking as well. Your friend should do photography (you know what I mean – as a hobby or career).

  • please cancel acct

    Wheather patterns in Alberta certainly have changed as the Meteorologist’s have suggested.

    The electrical grid for downtown Calgary is on it’s own network.The supply transformer’s on this network are under the street’s.That will make a clean-up very difficult.

    Some great pictures. My favorite being the reservoir which is my new desktop..

    Godspeed Calgary on your recovery.

  • MattyFranchise

    Phenomenal pictures Kent. If those were my kids standing on that bridge I would be slapping them silly. I too am a born Calgarian & all my family are here in town. We’ve all been fortunate to live in areas not affected. To watch Global & these pictures & see downtown & other areas is just surreal. They are saying it could take months before some parts of downtown will get its power restored. I have a new admiration of both our Mayor & Premier. The cleanup that will need to be done is simply overwhelming & who knows when that can even begin. I admire the determination to go ahead with the Stampede and various events, but for the life of me have no idea how it could be accomplished in 13 days.

  • RKD

    I’ve never seen anything like this before in Calgary, Nenshi said the levels were four times the levels in 2005. The Saddledome being flooded up to the tenth row was pretty terrible to see and hearing that a lot of the Flames historical memorabilia was destroyed is pretty sad.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I’m a life long Calgarian as well. The last few days have been surreal and my entire family and all my friends have gone unscathed (not withstanding a couple of force evacuations). These pictures continue to shock me. The cleanup of our normally very clean city will take a lot of effort in the coming weeks.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I’m a life long Calgarian as well. The last few days have been surreal and my entire family and all my friends have gone unscathed (not withstanding a couple of force evacuations). These pictures continue to shock me. The cleanup of our normally very clean city will take a lot of effort in the coming weeks.

  • schevvy

    Just horrible. Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. Down here in Lethbridge, we managed to avoid the worst of the flood, but it’s just shocking to see the devastation from Calgary, High River, Canmore, Medicine Hat and all other communities affected. Good to hear you guys all got through it relatively unscathed.

  • beloch

    I wish my great-grandparents were still around so I could ask them about the floods early in the 20th century! The current center street bridge replaced a fairly new bridge that was washed out in 1915. The “new” center-street bridge is close to a century old! It’s pretty amazing to see it come through a flood like this so well.

    It’s premature to say if this flood is the result of any real shift in climate or weather. Even David Suzuki was unwilling to go out on a limb and say it was.


    This may simply be what a once-in-a-century flood looks like. There are a lot of things that, in geological time, are absolute certainties but happen infrequently enough in human time that we can be caught off-guard. Edmonton certainly didn’t get a once-in-a-century flood this year, and I’m happy for them. What’s Vancouver going to look like when their once-in-a-century quake finally hits? We should be thankful that the city had evacuation plans in place that got practically everyone out of harms way. In a city that’s, in large part, built on a flood plain, it’s good to see we have the ability to protect what’s important.

    Of course, I’d expect we’ll see dams upstream on the Bow beefed up, reservoirs expanded, etc.. It might be another hundred years before any of that’s needed again, but people are going to be willing to pay now and perhaps our great-grandchildren will thank us.

    • In geology, there are terms like “100 year flood” or “1000 year flood”. Considering Calgary is on a flood plain, one of those sort of “super” events likely occurred. And given what you’re saying about the bridge replacement a century ago, I’d say 100 year flood is about accurate. Big, horrible, and not likely to occur again at that volume/capacity for a long time.

      Like Kent, I’m living in an area that wasn’t affected much by the flooding. Not everyone is as fortunate but the people will rise again. Calgary strong.

      I had a quick side point as well. I may be wrong, but I’ve yet to see Mr. Iginla express any sort of sympathy for flood victims. Brandon Prust, Mikael Backlund, and all sorts of other people stated their feelings. Where’s the supposed “I love Calgary and I love the people and it was a great time here” famous captain?

      If I’m right, good riddance to him. Don’t come back, we don’t need you.

      • Captain Ron

        Well, I would imagine the interesting part is that his old house must have been in the evacuation area & I would imagine they would have kept the house until his kids were finished the school year or end of June. I am surprised he has been silent.

        • doubledown

          I believe Iggy sold his house a couple months ago. Prust, Backlund, and others used twitter to convey their condolences. Iggy isn’t on twitter. So just because he didn’t tweet anything, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about Calgary or Calgarians.

          • doubledown

            Sale date was early April but possession date is something else. Usually people with family & kids going to school, possession dates are timed for when they finish the school year. I would have imagined, but who knows other than the realtors involved in the deal & both parties. He lived in Calgary a long time & would imagine he has lots of friends & even family in & around Calgary & areas possibly affected. My comments are not consistent with Fire & Ice, I am not judging him, just observing a very high profile athlete with connections & even possibly a chance his family were evacuated hadn’t made a public statement. Media love to lap these stories up. There are usually reasons & I don’t make assumptions or conclusions, just observations.

  • MattyFranchise

    I read a couple days ago that this is the worst flood that Calgary has seen in 90 years. As a Flames fan from the Red Deer area I send my condolences and just be, honestly, thankful that we haven’t had to go through such a trying situation as you fellows have.

  • Captain Ron

    That old man was lying about Winnipeg. With the floodway and the dikes it hasn’t flooded the downtown since about 1950 I think.

    When it flooded in 1997, the year before I moved away they sacrificed the rural communities for the sake of saving the city from this kind of catastrophe. The floodway et all has been improved a great deal since then too. And yes there was both federal and provincial money involved to get it done.

  • SydScout

    Observation from down under:

    Have been following closely from Sydney, Australia with my Calgarian missus and half Aussie, half Flames 9 week old girl. Was at the exhibition hockey here on Sat eve between Canada and the US in our Flames jerseys and onesies and the comments we got from the predominantly expat Canadians in their many and varied hockey jerseys (mostly Canucks) was that of concern and well wishes.

    Then in the lift at work first thing this Monday morning was headline news showing the devastation. More concern from Aussies here for all those affected.

    You’ve got support, from all over the globe. Calgary Strong indeed.

    Btw – Canada whipped the US in the aforementioned game! Three exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney – all sell outs. Hockey is gathering interest down here.

  • RedMan

    “We have equipment, the biggest water pumps in North America on standby for us and many of them,” King said.

    I wonder if King meant to say, “We have the biggest pumps currently not in the NHL”


  • RedMan

    It hard to believe ANYONE here would paint Iginla as guilty until proven innocent…

    regardless of whether Jarome backchecked in his last few years here, he has always been an extremely good human being and a class act across the board.

    he has given much to this community for years outside of the rink and has earned the respect of many in this big ol world. Jarome is top shelf, nuff said.