The Historic Canadian Rockies: the Tragedy at Turtle Mountain

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Alberta, Canada

Canada’s deadliest rockslide happened in 1903 when the side of Turtle Mountain collapsed and all but destroyed the tiny town of Frank, Alberta. It took only a minute and a half for 30 million cubic meters of limestone to crash down on the sleeping town, burying the town and a hundred of its residents under 150 meters of rubble. A Canadian Pacific Railway worker, on duty that night, was able to avert further disaster by flagging down a passenger train before it collided with the slide. This is just one of the many stories of heroism and survival.

Frank slide in crowsnest pass alberta

Panorama of the debris from Frank Slide. (Photo Credit:Amateria)

You can still see the evidence of this disastrous slide as you drive through that section of highway three. You’ll see giant boulders stretching out in both directions. Perched atop this debris is a modern interpretive centre which will shed more light on the town of Frank and its untimely demise. You’ll learn about the mine workers, trapped in Turtle Mountain, who were able to dig themselves to safety, and three young sisters who survived the slide despite their home being crushed. The stories of tragedy and survival against all odds have captivated Albertans for generations, let them captivate you.  A visit to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre will help you appreciate the Rockies’ destructive power as well as their beauty.

The Frank Slide Interpretive Center is located 1.5 km off Highway Three in the Crowsnest Pass, north of Waterton Lakes National Park. It’s open daily from 10:00am – 5:00pm.

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