Through photos, maps and illustrations, Canmore’s Floods, opening June 19, 2014 at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre, tells the story of this town’s resiliency through years of flooding. Canmore’s floods have different causes, but whatever the origin, they can threaten safety and often result in property damage.
In the early days of Canmore’s settlement, river flooding was a fact of life. Between 1883 and 1967, the Bow River flooded at least 19 times. On June 25, 1974, Canmore was again inundated by one of the worst river floods ever recorded.
In 2013 a different type of flooding occurred. Instead of river flooding, debris flows and debris floods were experienced in Canmore’s nine primary mountain creeks causing significant damage throughout the community
Another kind of flood damaged the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre. At about 3 a.m. on the morning of January 31, 2014, a PVC pipe failed in the main floor women’s washroom of the Canmore Civic Centre. It burst with enough force to blow out a section of the wall. The Civic Centre, including the Museum, had to deal with significant water damage.
Because exhibits were irreparably damaged, the museum was forced to close to the public from January 31 until June 19, 2014. Fortunately the Museum’s collections sustained little damage. This temporary exhibit enabled the Museum to open until we can plan, fabricate and install new permanent exhibits based on our collections. We will be asking our community to help us accomplish this goal.
As we learned in 2013, the town’s low-lying location on the River’s floodplain, and position among a number of steep mountain creeks, means that flood hazards will remain a way of life in Canmore. Through it all, Canmore stays strong.
“Although the Civic Centre flood was at first a disaster for the Museum, it provides an opportunity to develop new exhibits that will tell the stories of Canmore in a fresh, dynamic manner.”
Debbie Carrico, Director, Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre, 2014