Learning from the past
The Frank Slide site is an educational and historical focal point
This dramatic sight piques the interest of science and history lovers. — Jock Rutherford photo
April 29th, 1903, was a fateful date for the people of Frank—a small coal-mining town that is now an intriguing part of Crowsnest Pass history.
On that legendary night, a cascade of rock plummeted down from Turtle Mountain in a catastrophic natural disaster that would partially bury the town and make the area world famous. Today, you can visit the site of the massive rock slide, and Frank Slide Interpretive Centre provides plenty of engaging ways to learn about this tragic event.
“The Frank Slide is Canada’s deadliest—even North America’s deadliest—rock slide,” said Monica Field, area manager of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. “The sheer size of the debris field is awesome, but more sobering is the fact that nearly 100 people died.”
A central point in any Crowsnest Pass tour, this well-known centre is located 1.5 kilometres off Highway 3. It benefits the area greatly due to the large number of people that come to see it each year. Between the spending that occurs at local businesses and the employment boost that results, it’s easy to see why this site is such an important part of the local economy.
“Millions of dollars have come to the Crowsnest Pass because of the (interpretive centre’s) existence—it is a big attraction,” said Field.
An accredited Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre offers a wealth of information. Visitors can find out why Turtle Mountain came down, and whether there is any risk of a future occurrence. The centre has a high-definition theatre that seats 70 guests, and shows two audiovisual presentations at various times throughout the day. These features not only recreate the night of the rock slide, but also give viewers a lesson on Crowsnest Pass history—including such topics as coal mining, immigration and rum running.
The centre boasts four galleries, illustrating the effect of the Frank Slide, the community before, during and after, and the memories of those who survived it. There is a science centre that gives detailed information on how the slide happened and the potential role that the local mining operations could have played.
In the fourth gallery, there is an activity area and interactive tools, such as a gigantic three-dimensional map, as well as kiosks where you can read about some of the most dramatic stories from various Pass communities.
You can also get a closer look by walking along a 1.5-kilometre trail that winds its way through the debris of the Frank Slide and gives a firsthand view of the destruction that took place.
Key Crowsnest Pass contacts
Open year round and spanning the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park has a number of activities to suit any season: camping, fishing, swimming, hiking/biking trails, watersports, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, lookout views and beautiful drives to name a few.Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park - Albertawww.cypresshills.com
The Great Canadian Barn Dance and RV Resort—take in live entertainment in one scenic location, Saturday night dinner and dances, complimentary dance lessons and horse-drawn carriage rides. Please click this ad for more details.Great Canadian Barn Dance & RV Resortwww.greatcanadianbarndance.com
Plan your trip. Find your host. Stay and play.
Customized vacations for travellers who want a personalized stay anywhere they go. Complete listings for RV sites, Boondocking sites, RV rentals and RV storage. Sign up at RVwithMe.com.Bubble Up Marketing Corp.www.rvwithme.com
Travel with confidence
RV Care is Canada's national RV dealer network. Purchase a new or used RV from an RV Care dealership and enjoy priority service at all RV Care locations when you travel. For people traveling south, we have an alliance with the Priority RV Network with over 100 locations throughout the USA. RV Care stores are also an excellent source for all the parts and supplies at great prices to help you enjoy the RV lifestyle. Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and all over the USA you're never far from one of over 160 RV Care and Priority RV stores. Download the free RV Care app on your mobile device for GPS directions. Full information available on our website and at any RV Care dealer location.RV Care Network Ltd.www.rvcare.ca
Best selection of new and used RVs
Centerline RV Ltd., located at 4015 Mayor Magrath Dr. S, has the best selection of new and used recreational vehicles for sale in Southern Alberta. Like their Facebook page to enter a draw for a trip for two to fabulous Las Vegas.Centerline RV & Auto Ltd.www.centerlineauto.com