top of page
  • Craig Baird

The Floods Of Vermilion

Floods are highly destructive events that can wipe away entire sections of a community, and over the years many communities have done what they can to limit that damage. The area around Vermilion has seen several floods of the Vermilion River.

In 1943, the Vermilion River would flood with hundreds of citizens forced to vacate their homes when the river overflowed from its banks. The older men in the district reported that it was the worst in years, and high school was closed. The hospital near the river bank was saved by the quick work of the townspeople, who aided in draining away the water through the use of pumps.

In 1974, one of the worst floods in the area’s history hit after the Vermilion River began to rise quickly, reaching 18 inches from April 18 to April 26, and then three inches on April 26 alone. The water eventually reached 13 inches above the top of the dikes that had been built the previous week before crews opened gates on a control dam across the river. The worry was that if the water flooded the area it would impact the water wells and treatment plant of Vermilion.

In 1948, another flood hit that wasn’t as bad but Alvin Isert had to save eight of his pigs from being swept away in the flood waters of the Vermilion River in late April of that year. The water was running so fast and deep that the pigs were trying to reach higher land but could not and were swept downstream. Alvin and his brother Shorty dove into the water that was four feet deep and were able to gather all the pigs and bring them to safety.

While floods aren’t incredibly common, in the past, they were something to worry about as one flood could wipe a homestead off the map. Thankfully, better technology and predictive tools mean that many of the worst floods of the district are behind us.

In relation to a previous column I wrote about the Governor General visiting Vermilion, I would like to add that the air cadets from Kitscoty were part of the honour guard that welcomed the Governor General to the community.

I put out a history magazine that highlights many aspects of Canadian history. It is free and is delivered to your inbox. E-mail me to subscribe at

Support the column and my history show at

Listen to my podcast Canadian History Ehx on all podcast platforms or at

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The school of agriculture was a major part of the early success of Vermilion. Built thanks to the fact that Alberta premier Arthur Sifton represented Vermilion, it brought in students, jobs and money

Constant need of improvement As 2023 arrives, the entire world looks ahead with sincere hopes for better things to come. Amid it all, are we still worrying about New Year’s Resolutions? Roughly 45% of

Winter is the perfect time to cook up nourishing soups. If you are working outside of the home during the day, and don’t have a lot of time when you get home to get meals on the table, you can always

bottom of page