SNOW AND ICE

Kayak (Canada) - - FEATURE STORY -

On the night of Mar. 4, 1910, crews were clear­ing snow off the rail­way tracks near Revel­stoke, B.C. Just be­fore mid­night a wall of snow swept down the moun­tain, bury­ing 58 work­ers. Af­ter the tragedy, the Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way dug a tun­nel into the moun­tain to pro­tect against avalanches. One of the dark­est events in our his­tory is the 1914 seal­ing dis­as­ter. It hap­pened be­fore New­found­land and Labrador were part of Canada. March 30 and 31 are still re­mem­bered there as ter­ri­ble days. Two ships, the New­found­land and the South­ern Cross, sailed into ice-filled wa­ters. The men on board the New­found­land jumped onto the float­ing ice to hunt seals. It was dan­ger­ous work even in good years, but this time, a bliz­zard set in and 77 men drowned or froze try­ing to get back to the ship; an­other died later. The South­ern Cross was head­ing back to St. John’s in hopes of claim­ing the prize for the first ship to re­turn from the seal hunt. It was loaded down with pelts when it sank, tak­ing 173 men to their deaths. Much less se­ri­ous was the ice storm of Jan­uary 1998 in east­ern Canada that saw days of freez­ing rain pile up nearly twice as thick as had ever been seen, es­pe­cially in Que­bec and east­ern On­tario. The weight of the ice pulled down 120,000 kilo­me­tres of power and tele­phone lines. It snapped tele­phone poles and crum­pled elec­tri­cal tow­ers. More than one mil­lion homes lost power, some for weeks on end. Elec­tric­ity work­ers from all over North Amer­ica came to help.

Men hunt­ing seals on the ice off New­found­land

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