The situation developed slowly – the June 14 Herald reported that heavy rain had forced the cancellation of Sports Days at Spirit River, Sexsmith, and DeBolt. By June 21, the flooding at Slave Lake was being noticed. But by June 28 the entire Peace Country was cut off from the rest of Alberta by highway and rail. July 5 reports were of continuing heavy rain throughout the area, causing road and bridge washouts, damage to ferries, and flooding of towns and crops. By July 18, the worst was over and the area was left to repair the damage. There was political fallout as well. The isolation of the 60,000 people living in the north had added impetus to the call for a highway between Sturgeon Lake and Whitecourt. It took twenty years, but the road was finally built. It was completed in 1955 and paved by 1960. Watch for The Thursday File this week for news items about how the people coped during this crisis.
Researched & written by Kathryn Auger