The Lakes District has experienced some heavy rainstorms recently, but none of them is like the one that hit here 59 years ago.
On June 28, 1962, after a night of heavy rain, Saul Creek overflowed its banks and ran wild through Burns Lake. Floodwaters washed out Center Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues, tore away sidewalks, and ran merrily through the halls of Burns Lake Elementary School. The Women’s Missionary Hospital at the corner of Highway 16 and Fourth Avenue was surrounded by the torrent, which also cut off access to the west end of Burns Lake.
Burns Lake wasn’t the only community affected by the storm. According to the Review, the town’s weekly newspaper, an estimated 60 to 70 feet of Highway 16 was washed away at Decker Creek, and there was extensive flooding in the Colleymount area near Nourse Creek. Three residences in the Tintagel area also sustained damage when a nearby stream overflowed it banks. The rising water lifted all the flooring in the home owned by Alex Hawse, and the dwelling occupied by the Scott family broke in half after being undercut by the creek. A third cabin was washed into water.
The rain didn’t let up for a week, and by that time, the damage was extensive. It wasn’t until July 5 that Highway 16 reopened to traffic with the aid of a temporary bridge installed by the Ministry of Transportation, and village residents had to keep boiling their drinking water until July 16.
© 2021 Michael Riis-Christianson and the Lakes District Museum Society