Jayme Doll was one of the first reporters to get the call on June 20th last year that Canmore was in crisis. She left her home in Banff and arrived in Canmore moments before Cougar Creek washed out the Trans-Canada Highway, cutting off access to the community for nearly a week. She was the only television reporter on the ground with no access to a photographer. That’s when she turned to her iPhones.
It was a time that tested me as a journalist and as a person. Canmore was essentially an island during the flood – nobody could come in, nobody could come out, meaning many people were stranded, including me.
I was left with two iPhones to cover the story, as many Global viewers know. The biggest struggle was trying to keep the batteries charged to file my stories. I had a car charger but a wire snapped on the cord and the entire town was sold out. I was staying in a different place every night so I would plug them in wherever I could. One woman I interviewed lent me one of her chargers and I am grateful to this day.
My experience during the floods in no way felt like a job, or work. As with many Albertans, there was just a need for all of us to help, to do whatever we could do to help. For me, the best way I knew how was to communicate information.
There were many moments that brought me to tears, as I witnessed the strength and resiliency of people in Canmore, Exshaw and Morley: the school gym in Morley packed to the rafters with donations; the little kids selling lemonade for flood victims on the sidewalk in Canmore; people handing out free food and hot cinnamon buns. Strangers offered to give me the clothes off their backs to keep me warm. One family made me put my sopping wet socks in their dryer and used a hair blower to dry my boots!
While the floods caused so much devastation and heartbreak, what I treasure most are the memories of how they brought people closer together.
Below: 15 memorable images of Canmore during the 2013 flood