Skip to main content

Still with no power, Ameen Pabani, owner of a store on Calgary’s pedestrian mall, sorts T-Shirts. in preparation for the upcoming Stamepde. City crews are going door to door reenergizing the core of the city as it recovers from last weeks devastating flood. Most residents have been able to return to their homes.

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Moved by the need to get back to work, or the desire to get out of the house, Calgarians began trickling back to downtown corporate towers in greater numbers Wednesday as the city continued efforts to clean up and recover after massive floods.

On the same day, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the flooding that hit the city and other Alberta communities one week ago has affected thousands of Calgary homes, from those that have an inch of water in their basement to those that will have to be torn down. "We have houses that engineers are looking at that may well be condemned," Mr. Nenshi said.

In the city's downtown, many people defied the city's pleas to stay out, and in many areas – especially in the west end of downtown that was less hard-hit by the floods – the street scene appeared somewhat normal. However, signs of the ongoing state of emergency were everywhere, including piles of debris, teams of city crews roaming the streets, and hoses spitting water out from parking garages. Many buildings still don't have electricity restored. The Bow building, Calgary's tallest tower named after one of the rivers that flooded the city, stood quiet and empty.

Story continues below advertisement

Just across the river from downtown, in the neighbourhood of Sunnyside, people and construction vehicles buzzed around streets piled high with garbage – what was left over of peoples' possessions destroyed by flood water that filled their basements and sometimes main floors.

In the front room of his muddied Sunnyside home, energy lawyer Sean Wilson sat at a coffee table signing documents related to a business deal. He had too much to clean up to go to his downtown office on Wednesday, but still had work to do. "The show must go on," Mr. Wilson said.

While many Calgarians have seen their homes or businesses flooded, many neighbourhoods – especially those in the outer suburbs of the city – are not directly affected. Suniel Puri, a cost manager at a pipeline company who lives in the city's deep south, took the bus downtown on Wednesday.

"I have so much to do," Mr. Puri said. "I can't just sit at home."

For others, it was cabin fever that brought them out. IT worker Kenneth Inkster walked downtown to check on the Suncor building where he works. The building was still closed, but he hopes to get back to work on Thursday.

"To be honest, I just need to get out of the house," he said. "I have three small kids."

Thousands are cleaning up after the biggest flood in Alberta's history, which also hit the mountain community of Canmore, the Siksika First Nation east of Calgary and, most devastatingly, the town of High River. In Calgary, about 10,000 homes and businesses are still without power. The cleanup will stretch into weeks, if not months.

Story continues below advertisement

Calgary police have also now said that an 83-year-old woman found dead in her lower-level apartment near the Elbow River died of "accidental drowning." Police said they had made contact with her last Thursday when the evacuation order for her neighbourhood was initiated, and she had indicated she was going to leave. They said they didn't have any reason to believe she couldn't do it on her own.

"The apartment was ground level and had taken on water from the floods," Calgary Deputy Police Chief Roger Chaffin told reporters. "I couldn't even speculate as to how she became overcome by the water."

But there are more signs of things returning to normal. Court proceedings will resume Thursday after adjournments since the floods hit the city June 20. The main thoroughfare of Macleod Trail – which partially collapsed in the flooding – has been reopened. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has launched an initiative to help businesses recover from the floods.

Still, city officials are asking non-essential staff to work from home to keep the traffic down and help the recovery efforts go more smoothly.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies