The Alberta Floods: How We Lost Everything We Owned

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

You may have heard about the Alberta (Canada) floods in the news recently. Residents claim to have seen a wall of water take over the town like a tsunami. My brother lives in High River, a small town outside of Calgary that was hit the hardest by the Alberta floods. His friends were evacuated from their homes, some heli-lifted from the rooftops.

Amazingly, even though we live a life overseas, the flood has managed to affect us over here in ChinaWe had everything we owned, stored in a sea can outside of my brother’s shop in High River. The sea can is now nearly completely under water and we have officially lost everything that we had owned.


We had an entire 2 bedroom condo full of furniture and decorations in the sea can and all is lost. Honestly, the initial shock and self-pity wore off in about 30 seconds and we have completely accepted this as a sign to move on. While others have lost their homes, who are we to complain about our furniture and possessions!

We were planning on selling everything when we returned to Canada over Christmas and now mother nature has rid us of our burden (and some additional cashflow). We’ve never been given a more obvious push in the right direction. We are meant to be on the road and this is just another sign that we’re on the right path.

The town is under an astonishing 4-7 feet of water and there’s no signs of it drying up anytime soon. Because High River is a known “Flood Zone” there is no flood insurance for the nearly 13,000 residents of this small town.

An Ariel View Of The Floods
An Ariel View Of The Floods

“We heard the flood warnings on the news, and by the time we could leave the buildings and get to our cars, the water was nearly as high as the windows of our vehicles”, said one employee of a downtown industrial rental shop.

One resident claimed to have been in the walk out basement of her 2000 square foot home when a wall of water burst through the sliding glass door. The sudden gush of muddy, contaminated water filled her basement in seconds and she was forced to race to her rooftop where she awaited rescue.

People have now lost their homes and have been stranded for weeks. The city of High River has been completely evacuated and homes have been under water since June, 20th.

The video below is of the RCMP, doing a search and rescue mission in the town on a small zodiac, tying off on people’s patios and searching for abandoned residents in their dangerously eroded homes.

Through this epic disaster, there have been some amazing stories of generosity.

Donations are being taken by Red Cross and they have raised $2.6 million to date.

The Calgary Flames Association (NHL) have donated $1 million.

The Tim Horton's Flood Doughnut
The Tim Horton’s Flood Doughnut

Tim Horton’s Canada has started a special “Red Rose Doughnut Fund” which sells a $1, limited time doughnut in all of their stores. All money will go towards the relief effort.

And perhaps the most remarkable story is of one Cambodian orphanage which managed to raise $900. They sent the money to the Alberta Government to aid in the relief efforts.

Our thoughts are now with the thousands of families who have lost their homes completely to the floods. My brother too will have to deal with over $50,000 in damage.

Water has reached record levels in Calgary as well. A hippo nearly swam to freedom from the Calgary Zoo and two giraffes may die of hypothermia from being submerged in the cold, dirty water for so long.

This Hippo Nearly Escaped Into A Flooded River That Leads To Downtown Calgary
This Hippo Nearly Escaped Into A Flooded River That Leads To Downtown Calgary

The Saddle Dome, Calgary’s major sports arena, was also full of water. The water filled up to the 10th row of the stands!

The Calgary Saddle Dome. Flooded To The 9th Row
The Calgary Saddle Dome. Flooded To The 9th Row

The damages of this flood will have lasting repercussions for the citizens of Calgary, High River and many other areas of Alberta. We hope that the relief will come fast. The Alberta government has already allotted $1 billion in relief but will that be enough? From the looks of the videos and photos above… probably not.

Have you been affected by the floods? Tell us your story below.

If you’d like to donate to help those who have lost their homes, consider the options below:

Red Cross Alberta Flood Relief


Place2Give Flood Relief Fund


Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Written by

Nick Wharton

Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his expert knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. He has been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and has more than 10 years of experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship.

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12 thoughts on “The Alberta Floods: How We Lost Everything We Owned”

  1. amazing synopsis and write up of the floods we have had here Goats…I live in Calgary, in a community on high ground just above sunnyside…one of the 26 communities that were evacuated. over 76,000 people were evacuated from their homes and the destruction was unbelievable.
    Calgary being the economic hub of Canada was shut down and many parts of downtown still are without power and many residents have still yet to be allowed access to their homes. the province has said the cost of this disaster is somewhere near the 2.5 billion mark.
    you are right, losing items or possession is just that. losing your home is devastating to your brother and thousands of others…but there were also 4 deaths due to this flood which may seem low in comparison to the lose of life in the recent floods in India. but those people truly lost everything…
    I really appreciate your take on this and hearing you say your are grateful shows the character you two have and for that I am proud of you…
    Best of luck to your brother and all the others affected by this.

  2. Thank you Kristy. In a way, we’re glad that we weren’t there too….I think it would be hard to see all of our belongings under water, and the destruction of friends and family’s homes and businesses.

    Glad you like to visit Alberta as well! It has to much to offer 🙂

  3. I’m sorry all of your things were destroyed, but maybe its good you werent living there when it happened, it could have been much worse maybe. It’s so sad to read about all the destruction caused by the flooding. I hope Alberta can heal from this quickly, it is such a great place to visit.

  4. Oh, that’s awful. I think sometimes it can be harder to have a disaster happen while you’re away from home then to be there for it – it’s a helpless feeling, having to watch the news for information while you’re far away.

  5. Thanks guys. We’re fortunate to have only lost our “stuff” and not the lives of any friends or family members, or a house. Some people lost literally everything.

    We appreciate the comment, cheers!

  6. Hey Guys,

    Sorry to hear about your loss – but on the positive side, the push in the right direction that you have gained out of this will be much more valuable as compared to what you lost, in the long run. It’s not easy to shrug off such a big loss and I love your attitude on this whole incident.

    Now, you have another big adventure in Central Asia to look forward to 🙂 And make sure you stop in London at some point in the near future 😉


  7. Thanks a lot guys! We appreciate the comment.

    We are very excited for our trip!! It commences tomorrow actually 🙂 We’ll let you know when we’re in London – it’ll be soon actually.


  8. I can identify with your loss from more than one personal experience. Our home was knee deep in flood water 3 times in 15 years, and ankle deep many more. We completely renovated 3 times: the first when we bought a charming house on a lovely piece of property with stream, apple trees, and a shady lawn that was a pleasure to behold. The house was represented as having been “gutted for renovation” though no mention of a flood and the interior concrete was clean (fire hose???). We saved money by replacing and improving the structure and even the ground floor plan by ourselves; twice. . . .
    We couldn’t sell it to anyone in good conscience, and the situation became intolerable. So eventually we sold ou homer for the value of the land and just walked away.
    We left a park-like acre of yard surrounded by our 3 acres of deciduous forest and bordered by state forest.We bought a smaller house in town with the proceeds That was 4 years ago, and the feeling of relief is still with us, despite the losses in location and lifestyle.
    no more sorting through muddy refuse, and we can finally go away without worry of finding devastation and looting on our return.
    Our songs are grown and out of the nest, and we were set to leave for India in NOV, but our plans were postponed when i had an aneurism, 3 hospitalizations and 2 subsequent brain surgeries. TBI has left me forgetful and with impaired will be 3 years until testing will establish whether the problem has been effectively repaired, but we’re aiming at Asia in 2017. Im 65 and my husband will be 70, so its sort of now or never We’re experienced travelers/ back packers, but its been almost 40 years since we met on the road. I mention this because i want to assure you that years on, the stress of these set-backs is nowhere near what it was after, during, and before the floods, when we lost almost everything of material value. After all,
    its only “stuff”. it won’t matter at all down the road. Experience is now and forever.

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