image of the book cover of Harm’s Way: Disasters in Western Canada

Harm's Way: Disasters in Western Canada

Edited by Anthony Rasporich, and Max Foran

$24.95 CAD / $28.95 USD (S)

298 pages, 48 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

Hardback: 1552380912

Paperback: 978-1-55238-091-8

Library PDF: 978-1-55238-360-5

May 2004

Buy Now

A collection of stories of resilience and survival are brought together in a scholarly examination of a disasters and disaster response in Western Canada.

From the world-wide influenza outbreak in 1918 that devastated many Calgary families to lesser-known disasters, including floods, fires, tornadoes, weed outbreaks and explosions, Western Canadians have faced and survived tragedy, misfortune, and extreme distress.

This collection examines a number of well- and lesser-known disasters, with a focus on their impacts on communities, families, and individual people, and on the ways these people responded to disaster with courage and resilience. Thoroughly researched and generous illustrated, this volume is a celebration of the persistence of the human spirit.

Highlighting both individual efforts and community responses, these stories examine the ways people respond to disasters large and small, shocking and mundane, natural disasters and those created by humans. It celebrates the resolve to continue forward and the adaptability to challenge that is the true heart of a century of development in Western Canada.

About the Editors

Anthony Rasporich is former dean of Social Sciences and professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.

Max Foran has been working the field of western Canadian history for over thirty years and has published on various urban, rural, and cultural topics. He is currently a professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.

With Contributions By: Anthony Rasporich, Hugh A. Dempsey, Janice Dickin, Lorry W. Felske, Joe Cherwinski, Patrick H. Brennan, David Breen, Max Foran, David C. Jones, and J.M. Bumsted. 

Praise for Harm’s Way

These well-written, thoroughly researched, and generously illustrated essays convincingly demonstrate that both nature and human agency can cause disasters but that resilient western Canadians often overcame situations that had put them in harm’s way.

– Patricia E. Roy, Great Plains Quarterly

Table of Contents


Anthony Rasporich

Smallpox: Scourge of the Plains
Hugh A. Dempsey

Pale Horse/Pale History?:Revisiting Calgary’s Experience of the Spanish Influenza, 1918–19
Janice Kickin

The Great Rock Slide at Frank

Lorry W. Felske

Horror Stories: The Tales of Frozen Prairie Settlers During the Brutal Winter of 1906–7
Joe Cherwinski

It’s an Ill Wind that Blow Nobody Good: Regina’s 1912 "Cyclone"
Patrick H. Brennan

Atlantic No. 3. Disaster: From Raging Inferno to Beacon of Promise
David Breen

It Could Have Been Much Worse: The 1942 Outbreak of Foot in Mouth Disease in Saskatchewan
Max Foran

Putting Down Roots: The Historical Origins of the ONgiong Weed Diaster on the Canadian Prairies
Clint Evans

The Toll of Two Images
David C. Jones

Flooding in the Red River Valley of the North
J.M. Bumsted