by Dr. Robert Berdan
Our Resident Photographer
Trailhead CommunityAlvise Doglioni
An Old World ArtisanTim Mitchell and Pat Cardinal perform during Bragg Creek Days in summer 2011The Honourable Peter Lougheed at opening of Kananaskis Country Golf CourseJohn Lajeunesse – Founder of
the Banded Peak Challenge.Dr. Robert Berdan – Wildlife Dr. Robert Berdan – Grizzlies
June 20 was the first day of summer, and it arrived in Bragg Creek with a torrent. Early that morning, I received a call from our office manager advising me that she and her family were being asked to evacuate their home, located near the Elbow River in Bragg Creek, due to high water levels.
After receiving Megan’s call, I began the five-minute drive from our home to our office in The Old West Mall in the hamlet of Bragg Creek. When I crossed the bridge into the hamlet, I found the water levels in the Elbow River to be as high as I had remembered them being at the peak of the flood of 2005. I continued on to my office to attend a scheduled meeting with a client, and when my client and I emerged from our meeting two hours later, we were astounded to find that the water had risen substantially – at that point flowing about a foot deep down Balsam Avenue in front of our office. As it turned out, the water level was not even close to peaking.
I left the office and began to check in on people that I felt might be at risk or in need of help. Within three hours of leaving my office, the Elbow River had risen to levels more than two metres higher than 2005.
Bragg Creek Community Centre where over 10,000 meals were served during an eight-day period, with everything being donated from all over Alberta. Photography by Peter Gold
To add to the tension, our 13-year-old daughter was now unable to return home from school in Springbank because the highways leading into Bragg Creek were closed. Alongside my wife, son and neighbours, I watched open-mouthed while houses and other frighteningly large objects were being carried down the Elbow River, smashing against the only bridge connecting us to the hamlet of Bragg Creek and our daughter. What we witnessed during the height of the flood was truly unbelievable, as was the devastation that we found after the water had receded a day or so later – revealing ruined homes, businesses, roads and dreams.
Despite the devastation, in the weeks since, the indomitable spirit that has emerged within the community of Bragg Creek has been as awe-inspiring as the flood itself. The community association served 1,200 meals a day for eight days straight, and every meal served was donated! But we didn’t do it alone, not by a long shot! In the weeks after the flood, people from near and far arrived in Bragg Creek as volunteers to help us get back on our feet, working alongside us to pump out the water, carry out the mud, and tear out drywall, insulation and flooring to save homes and businesses from becoming teardowns.
The new face of Elbow Falls after the Summer 2013 flood – by Robert Berdan
As a result of the outpouring of kindness and thousands of hours of volunteer work, most of our residents have returned to their homes, while many of the affected businesses are not only open and warmly welcoming customers, but also doing whatever they can to assist other business owners and residents.
I encourage you to read the interviews in the feature article within our special Fall edition: they are heartwarming and inspiring tributes to the community spirit of Bragg Creek, my chosen home.
To all the people within the community of Bragg Creek and beyond, who selflessly gave their time and donations: Thank you, without you there was no way!
Lastly, I’d like to thank all the people who helped us publish this issue of the magazine: all the business owners who gave me their time for interviews despite being in recovery mode; the many extraordinary people from the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association for their assistance with both the feature Trails article and our new trails map; and Dave Kalinchuk and his colleagues at Rocky View County for their unwavering support.
Dwayne Zaba, Publisher
On the first day of summer, like many of the surrounding communities throughout southern Alberta, the community of Bragg Creek was ravaged by an unprecedented torrent of water that shocked and devastated the locals and left them reeling in its wake.
Within a remarkably short period of time after the water receded, people began to focus on the task ahead, and with an outpouring of help from friends and neighbours within the community, as well as angels from surrounding areas, the indomitable spirit of the people of Bragg Creek truly soared!
This issue's Feature Article, Flood of Resilience, contains interviews with the above members
of the Bragg Creek Community, from left: Lori Gildemeister, Bragg Creek Family Foods;
Mike Woertman, Cinnamon Spoon; Lisa Johnston, ATB Financial; Mark Betts, Moose Mountain General Store; Lisa Price, The Italian Farmhouse Ristorante & Bar. Photography by Peter Gold
In similar fashion to Calgary’s own ‘Come Hell or High Water’ approach, we worked hard to put our lives and community back together. During the weeks following the flood, I met with some of the local business owners and community leaders who went above and beyond the call of duty to help pull us out of the mud.
These interviews will give you a sense of what the people of Bragg Creek lived through: We went through hell and just kept on going!
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out www.braggcreek.tv for some awesome video showcasing the beauty and splendour of Bragg Creek and K-Country.
In keeping with one of this issue's feature articles, we have recently added a video based around the West Bragg Creek Trails and the work that goes into developing, expanding and maintaining them: www.braggcreek.net/trailhead
Currently under development is a link from the hamlet of Bragg Creek to the West Bragg Creek trails. As part of the TransCanada trail, the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) hopes to have the trail built in time for Canada’s 150-year sesquicentennial celebration in 2017.
It will be a fitting tribute to a community that has evolved into a trails paradise for all to enjoy.
A typical picturesque trail in West Bragg Creek – by Robert Berdan
www.braggcreek.tv is also where you can find exclusive footage of some of the most spectacular homes in the Bragg Creek region. We regularly update the site with relevant and engaging video content – the countryside; documentaries; resident interviews; property tours – to bring the ever-changing seasonal beauty of Bragg Creek into the comfort of your home.
Between them, the top three winners of our Winter/Spring 2014 Competition will receive a total of $500 from and Rocky View County. Additionally the first-place winner will also receive a 20”x30” stretched-canvas print of their winning photograph from Branded Visuals Inc. (up to a value of $200). See our Competition page for current full prize details, and for terms and conditions.
The unmistakable Wedge Pond in spectacular Fall colours
– the Fall 2013 winning submission by Victor Liu
If you haven't already sent your photos in, now is the perfect time to do so. We are still keen on receiving photographs showcasing how you, your friends and family interact with the beautiful countryside right here on our doorstep. These can involve any season or activity: fishing, hiking, canoeing, biking … however you enjoy the great outdoors.
As always, the photographs must be taken within the greater Bragg Creek area or Kananaskis. Please also confirm that you have permission from anybody recognizable in your photographs for reproduction of their image, as outlined in our competition details and rules.
The submission deadline for our Winter/Spring 2014 Photography Competition is Friday December 13, 2013.
Submit your Photographs
Remember: You can't win if you don't you send it in.
Just west of Calgary is a little hamlet boasting the title ‘The Gateway to Kananaskis,’ home to some of the world’s most pristine landscapes.
Located a short 30-kilometre drive from Calgary, Bragg Creek is a wonderfully vibrant community with a wealth of amenities – the perfect lifestyle balance between Big City convenience and stunning natural beauty. The breathtaking 4,200-square-kilometre forestry reserve of K-Country – set in the Rocky Mountain front-ranges – is truly a year-round outdoor recreational paradise which is sure to take your breath away!
magazine celebrates this region's beauty and encourages everyone to experience this enchanting paradise first-hand. We showcase professional and amateur photography, provide engaging articles and feature exclusive resident profiles. We publish every four months with an average circulation of 18,000 copies per issue, distributed via proprietary stands and directly to all the Calgary-based subscribers to The Globe & Mail.