It’s been said that every place has a story, but the Crowsnest Pass has two epic tales to tell – catastrophic events that changed the course of history and convey the fortitude of a people who chose to rise out of tragedy, forge ahead, and create a thriving community in one of the world’s most beautiful and naturally abundant locations.
The landscape of the Crowsnest Pass would never look the same after April 29, 1903. In the early morning hours of that day, the side of Turtle Mountain gave way without warning, and 90 million tonnes of rock careened mercilessly down to the valley floor. The debris field covered 3 square kilometers and partially buried the sleepy mining town of Frank for all eternity. Today, hunched on a grassy bluff above the fallen stones, is a building that pays homage to the disaster, and places visitors in the middle of the tragedy without ever being in harm’s way. Frank Slide Interpretive Center is brimming with interactive displays, audio-visual experiences and engaging activities that bring the catastrophe back to life in the minds of all who visit it. Be sure to make the hike up from the Interpretive Centre to the town site of Lille to explore the ghostly coke ovens – a truly haunting experience.
Just a few years later, in June 1914, the Crowsnest Pass would be rocked to its foundation once again. An explosion deep the Hillcrest mine would take the lives of 189 miners, leaving 130 women widowed and around 400 children fatherless in a community of only 1,000 residents. Take an interpretive tour of the former town of Hillcrest, and visit the mass grave where the victims of the disaster were laid to rest.
For more insights on the rich history and culture of The Pass, visit Crownest Museum, or simply strike up a conversation with any of the friendly locals you’ll find at the area’s fantastic hotels, restaurants, and Bed & Breakfasts.
So book the Triumph Through Tragedy package today and experience all the history found in the Crowsnest Pass.