a pause from interior design: calgary flood 2013

On Thursday I was in a meeting with a client when we learned Calgary was in a state of local emergency due to potential flooding of the rivers that run through our city. At 2:20pm my client received a phone call from her husband indicating they needed to evacuate their home by 3pm so as you can imagine she bolted from the office.

I didn’t think much of it other than precautionary. I picked up my kids from school and decided to make my way down to the pool a little earlier than normal just in case traffic was bad.

When we arrived at the pool they were shutting it down. Again, I figured for precautionary measures since it is close to the river so we drove home amidst the mass exodus from downtown.

Watching the news that evening raised a little more concern, and then a lot more. We received notice schools would be closed Friday which in Calgary is unprecedented since I can’t remember ever having a snow day. I called my sister-in-law and mother-in-law who both live fairly close to the river to check in and they said all was well at their end. An hour later I had seven family members at my door needing a place to stay as their neighborhood had been added to the mandatory evacuation list which was now at 26 communities, roughly 75,000 people.

Friday morning I woke up to a text from my client saying “my house is ruined”. I nearly cried. I turned on the news and was stunned at the state of Calgary. It was under water.

It’s been an emotional weekend. Moments of shock, uncertainty, and almost no words to describe the feelings. It all happened so fast.

The outpouring of volunteers, police, firefighters, city officials, Mayor Nenshi and the band of togetherness in the city over these last few days has been amazing and inspiring to say the least, however I would have expected nothing less. This is Calgary.

Our home is high on a hill and has been untouched by any of the flooding concerns. We are so grateful. Outlying communities such as High River, Canmore and Bragg Creek have been devastated by the flood and my heart goes out to all those who have lost not only their homes but loved ones during these unforgettable days.

So interior design aside for today, here is a glimpse into the magnitude of the Flood of 2013 in the area of Bowness as well as downtown Calgary.

The river invited itself into the streets of Calgary, neighborhoods, homes and businesses, but we will rise above.


Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

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Comments 1

  1. The swiftness of the whole event was mind boggling. I am still in shock at how quickly we were overwhelmed by the water.
    On the fantastic side: the amazing response of our mayor, city councillors and the provincial government, and the generous response from citizens offering to help out evacuees in their own home. Huge Kudos to Calgary Police, the fire department and the city crews on the ground.
    This is just another way we are a world class city.


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