History Book

 Sepia Toned Photograph of the New Hamburg flood, 1885

Throughout the years Waterloo Region has seen its share of emergency situations. Follow the time-line below and see how many you can remember!


Cholera Pandemic, which is said to have started in India and travelled west-ward, coming to Canada on immigrants' boats.  In Galt, a travelling circus brought the disease to the town of 200, with 33 deaths in one week.  At that time, there was only one doctor for the village and surrounding township.


The "Great Flood" in new Hamburg, where bridges and wooden sidewalks were swept away, with much damage to buildings - but no lives were lost.


Diptheria outbreak in Wellesley and Wilmot Townships affecting many young children, of whom approximately 20 per cent died.


Influenza Pandemic, locally, almost 60 per cent of the population fell ill during the month of October 1918.  In Kitchener alone there were at least 127 deaths, affecting mainly young men and women between the ages of twenty and forty. Schools, theatres, factories and other public gatherings were cancelled for the duration of the outbreak.


Floodwaters damaged bridges and flooded a mile of Water Street in Cambridge (Galt).

1947 (March)

A three-day blizzard in Waterloo County, with drifts completely covering houses, closing roads, railway and other communication lines.  In the town of Waterloo, a snow drift reached from the eaves of a two-story house across the road, and drifts of six to ten feet were common.  Widespread flooding followed when the snow melted in early April.


Hurricane Hazel wreaks havoc on Ontario. Front page news in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record covers the significant flooding in Bridgeport.


Railway derailment in Cambridge (Galt) over Water Street Bridge sends two steam locomotives tumbling down an embankment across from Galt Collegiate Institute. Two railway workers are killed.


Listowel arena collapses.  Volunteers clawed at wreckage of the Listowel Memorial Arena in an effort to save boys still trapped.


Huge fire in downtown Kitchener destroys Loblaw's, Zellers and Metropolitan stores. Fire is discovered when a clerk picked up a grocery bag from the floor and found it warm to the touch.


Cambridge flood causes millions of dollars of damage.


Uniroyal spill of NDMA (N-nitroso-dimethylamine) had contaminated Elmira's water supply at levels above safe levels.


Meningitis outbreak in Kitchener-Waterloo.


On August 14, 2003, large portions of the Midwest, Northeast U.S., and Ontario, Canada, including Waterloo Region experienced an electric power blackout.  The outage affected an area with an estimated 50 million people.


Explosion and fire at Crompton facility prompts emergency alert. A large black plume filled the morning sky following an explosion in Elmira, Ontario.


Extreme weather sweeps across southwestern Ontario resulting in an F2 tornado touching down in Fergus, Ontario (Centre Wellington), just outside of Waterloo Region.


Just days before Christmas on December 22, 2013, thousands of residents without power after a massive storm system left southern Ontario blanketed with ice.  Woolwich declared a state of emergency and opened a warming centre. Other communities opened warming centres for residents. 


Early January a brief ice storm created some damage in Waterloo Region with many tree branches falling and leaving much debris.

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