Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day Six of Calgary's Flood

Calgary's Muslim community arranged for a food truck
to serve shwarma to those staying at the shelter.

(John Rieti/CBC)
"Day Six."

Those are the words I was hearing on the radio yesterday, when I was listening to reports of the flooding here in Calgary. Like our fellow Canadians, we, too, sit at home and listen to the radio or watch the images on television.

Calgary neighbourhoods that did not sustain water
damage will be opened in portions as the city works to reopen roads

and get utilities working.

(Andy Clark/Reuters)
I don’t know which ones make the facts look real to me.

The images from a plane as it circles the downtown core, showing us the Glenmore dam that can’t hold back any more water? The huge trees floating down the river? The whole downtown covered with water? The grey-brown turbulent churning of the river that is always so clear and blue? The worried calls and emails from our own loved ones to see if we are alright?

Those of us who do not live in the valley are not physically affected in the way of loosing our belongings or homes. But we haven’t been travelling, since there is no good way to get from the north of Calgary through to the south by using the middle of town of the low lying bridges. The best image for me was the one that showed the water covering the first eight rows of the chairs in the Saddledome.


I can see the railing and know that I have held onto that banister going lower and lower ... and now there are many feet of water where we usually go to enjoy a rink of ice. As I was walking my own neighbourhood yesterday I saw the the number #10 bus said it was going to Southcentre – and when the electronic sign switched it said “may detour”.

No kidding!

You may not get anywhere close to where you want to go.  Trell told me that the Greyhound buses have moved from the downtown care and are working out of the old Sears Warehouse Centre, that you can't call and find out where they are going, but you can show up and see if a bus is leaving there for anywhere close to where you want to go.

It is usual to see low flying helicopters during the day, so much so that I don’t look up anymore.

Last night we had delicious Persian piroshkis (individual meat pies). That is because Amir’s friend lives on the 10th floor of a high rise in downtown Calgary. He is staying with us since his building is closed down, the gas off, the electricity off ... and no way to know when he can go home.

Maybe Wednesday. Maybe not.

And now back to listening to the news and watching the images – living here the terrible flooding seems surreal. We don't go to the ridge of the hill to look at it.  Those of us whose homes are unaffected are being told that the best things we can do is hand-wash our dishes and hold off on the big loads of laundry.

We spend the days watching the news for updates signalling happier times ahead for our families and friends who have been affected by the flood.



  1. I have called all my immediate family members, keep going on Facebook to and other sites to see pictures, and did have a small leak at my house. Buying on higher ground, worth the effort to go up and down hills apparently. Hope extended family is doing well. Hugs to all.

  2. We are fortunate that none of us have had leaks in our basements, yet. We plan to drive out to Shuswap again at the end of this week so hopefully the No. 1 highway will be open by then.