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Banner: SOS! Canadian Disasters
IntroductionDisaster Media ReportsSearchHelpWaterEarthAirFireIce


Canada's diverse geographic and climatic range has witnessed almost every type of natural disaster possible. In SOS: Canadian Disasters, Library and Archives Canada presents a selection of events that have made their impact across this land, and resound in the collective consciousness of Canadians. Yet, despite the wide range of disasters that have occurred in recent history, Canada is in the fortunate position to have never been truly overwhelmed by any singular event, with communities coming together, coping, adapting and rebuilding.

Photograph of the view from the Willis Foundry after the explosion, showing a large pile of rubble, Halifax, 1917


View from Willis Foundry looking toward Pier 8, Halifax, 1917

Photograph of a rural mailbox, completely encased in ice, near Farnham, Quebec, January 1998


An icy mailbox near Farnham, Quebec, January 1998

For the purposes of this site, we are focusing primarily on natural disasters, or ones that are not related to terrorism or political insurrection. Under our elemental themes of Water, Earth, Air, Fire and a distinctly Canadian fifth element of Ice, this site explores events that have altered Canadians' lives and that continue to elude justification.

The Disaster Media Reports database can be used to search newspaper articles and images related to the disasters presented on this site. These reports often provide a sense of immediacy not present in the myths and recollections that come after the disaster has passed. Please note that some of the images on this site may be upsetting, and discretion is advised.