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Pathways to Winnipeg history
PastForward: Winnipeg's digital history
History of Winnipeg

About the Flood

The courage and determination of Winnipeg residents during and after the Flood of the Century will not be forgotten, nor will the memories and stories.

Thank you volunteers sign is displayed in a front yard

It had been a long, cold winter. April was finally here. The snow was melting and the weather was warming up.

Then the Blizzard of the Century hit.

Flood forecasters predicted another spring of high river levels. In 1996, the Red River had peaked at 19.4' James Avenue datum and the City had succeeded in protecting every Winnipeg home. We could do it again.

But then there were those unforgettable scenes of downtown Grand Forks, with its flooded streets and fire-ravaged buildings. No one had ever seen a flood of this magnitude. What would happen in Winnipeg? We had the Floodway for diverting floodwaters from the Southbut would it be up to the massive task. By working hard, we could ensure that Winnipeg was as well-prepared as possible. The rest was up to Mother Nature.

This Special Section looks back at the "Flood of the Century", the tremendous efforts of all City of Winnipeg employees and the incredible teamwork that protected our city. We all played an important role - either by continuing to provide City services or by working on flood-related activities.

Chronology of Flood Events

A chronology of events from when the first flood forecast was issued on February 26 until the last evacuees and the military personnel returned home in late June, 1997.

Flood Scenes - 1997

A pictorial view of the flood of 1997.

Flood Scenes - 1950

A pictorial view of the flood of 1950.

1997 Flood Facts

Facts from the number of sandbags produced to the number of people evacuated from their homes during the 1997 flood.

Going Home

As big a job as it is to evacuate a neighbourhood over a 24 hour period, sending people back to their homes and businesses is a far more complicated task, as the City's Flood Re-entry Team discovered.


City employees reflect upon the Flood of the Century.

James Ave Datum

James Avenue Datum is a reference or scale used to measure elevations within the city of Winnipeg.

Last update: June 6, 2022

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