A b s t r a c t

CANADIAN DISASTERS - AN HISTORICAL SURVEY

Robert L. Jones

The major Canadian disasters from the 1500s to date are identified by cause and type.  General disaster criteria are defined.  Twenty or more deaths occurring at one time is the primary criterion.  The other principal criterion is to include events which have occurred within Canada, and Newfoundland before 1949, and offshore inside the 200-mile economic zone.  Events such as wars, epidemics and battles between natives and European settlers during colonization have been excluded.  These criteria limit the events which are discussed to a manageable number.

The results of an expanded literature search are presented and a brief description of some of the disasters is given.  The weather-related factor is determined.  An historical perspective is discussed with a view to illustrating the disasters which were common in early Canadian history, and those which have occurred in modern times.  Conclusions are drawn as to which types of natural and man-made disasters are likely to occur in Canada in the future.

In the 22 years since original publication, (Table 5 ref. Nh) the database has more than doubled in size from 95 events in 1990 to 227. The latest version of the paper is published at:

web.ncf.ca/jonesb/DisasterPaper/disasterpaper.html

KEY WORDS:  disasters, Canadian disasters, weather-related disasters

C A N A D I A N   D I S A S T E R S

A N   H I S T O R I C A L   S U R V E Y

Search for Canadian Disasters in Box above

METHODOLOGY

The first task was to define a disaster for analysis purposes.  This was followed by an intensive literature search.  Implications of weather- and / or climate-related phenomena were also noted and recorded during the search.  All disasters appeared in at least one reference, with recent events taken from newspaper coverage.  Finally, conclusions were drawn about the weather-related disasters as compared to the other disasters found in the references.

In order to limit the number of events to be included in the survey, the primary disaster criteria were defined as a single event, occurring at one time (no more than the order of a few days), within Canadian (and Newfoundland, before 1949) territory out to the 200-mile economic zone offshore, in which loss of life was 20 or more persons.  The search identified and counted all such events except wars and epidemics.  The early colonization battles with aboriginals and the war of 1812 with the United States were excluded.  In all, 227 disasters have been identified which met these criteria.

Several major epidemics were found but not counted in the primary list.  Epidemics have by far the highest death tolls of all Canadian disasters and those found in the references are listed in Table 2.  The worst of these were the Spanish influenza epidemic which killed between 30,000 and 50,000 Canadians in the last five months of 1918; the 1862 smallpox epidemic which killed at least 20,000; and another smallpox epidemic in 1885 which killed almost 6,000 in Montreal.

In a short communication such as this, the scope cannot hope to extend to comparisons of Canadian disasters with those in other countries.  Further, the scope did not include economic or property loss criteria.

DISCUSSION AND FINDINGS

Major Findings

Table 1 lists the 227 Canadian disasters which met the above criteria and which were found in the references, listed in Table 5 at the end of the paper. Sixty-one of these disasters occurred prior to Canada's Confederation in 1867.  It is felt that there may be several unidentified disasters in that early period but, on the other hand, the period from 1867 to date may well include most of the events where at least 20 persons lost their lives.  It is worth noting that the significant loss of life in the large number of marine disasters in the period around the time of Confederation was the catalyst which caused the federal government to found the Canadian Weather Service with a grant to Professor George T. Kingston in 1871.

Table 2 lists 104 disasters which did not meet all the criteria, but were reported in many references.  Several were just short of the 20-death criterion, but were spectacular in nature.  Others happened outside the 200-mile limit, but had distinctive "Canadian" characteristics such as the 1985 Air India crash over the North Atlantic Ocean and the 2001 World Trade Centre attacks which killed 25 Canadians.  Still others met the criteria, but occurred over periods of time from a few months to a decade or more.  Finally, Table 2 includes some wartime events.

Given sets of data such as Tables 1 and 2, many conclusions can be inferred.  Dealing with the weather-related factor first, 49% of the disasters were found to be weather-related, whether or not they met the criteria.  Of the remainder, 44% were not weather-related and the effect of the weather could not be determined from 7% of the disasters found.  A strict definition of the weather-related factor is not possible in this examination.  Based upon each event description in the references, a subjective decision was made on this factor, depending on the way the incident was described.

Some authors have stated that weather-related disasters have been increasing markedly in recent years.  A survey of the 32 disasters in both Tables 1 and 2 since 1990 to date (July 2013) (over two decades of the most recent data), shows that 48% were weather-related, 52% not weather-related and there was one disaster where the weather-related factor was uncertain. When the many updates to the original published paper are considered, the weather-related factor has remained constant with weather being involved in about half of the disasters.

Marine and Transportation Events

There were interesting findings regarding marine disasters.  Over 35% of all the disasters occurred at sea, or on the Great Lakes, and 90% of these were weather-related.  As expected, many of these marine disasters did not occur in modern times and, to a degree, land transportation and aviation disasters are beginning to replace the ship/marine disasters.  Clearly, when the number of aviation, train and bus accidents are added, transportation in all forms has been, and still is, the most common cause of major Canadian disasters.

Dates and Frequency of Disasters Meeting Criteria

Starting with 1801-1810, the rate of change with time of the numbers of people dying each decade in major disasters was examined.  Figure 1 shows the total number of deaths per decade.


Figure 1

It is evident that, although the nation's population has been rising steadily since colonization, the number of people killed in major disasters has been gradually dropping.  The very large anomaly in the 1911-1920 decade was caused by the 1917 explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax Harbour and by the collision of two ships off Rimouski.  These two events make the 1911-1920 decade Canada's deadliest by far in terms of disasters at home.
 
Using Statistics Canada's latest population data (census of 2011), Figure 2 below shows the number of deaths per million population per decade.  Figure 2 begins with the 1851 census, the earliest accurate census.


Figure 2

The same decadal data were also used to determine that, on average, there was about one major disaster per year.  The rate approaches two disasters per year in the three decades from 1891 to 1920, in agreement with the above anomaly for 1911-1920.

Categories of Disasters

The Journal of Natural Hazards recognizes the following hazards: atmospheric (weather and climatological), earthquakes, erosion, floods, droughts, landslides, man-made and technological, oceanographic (waves and storm surges), snow/avalanches/ice, tsunamis and volcanoes.
 

It is interesting to note that Canada has experienced at least one disaster in each of the categories listed in the Journal, with two exceptions: storm surges and volcanoes, and that the two of the three most common Canadian disasters do not fall exactly into any of the classifications listed.  They are shipwrecks and fires.  Obviously, the shipwrecks are, in many cases, the result of marine (wave) hazards, but the fires do not seem to have a place in the hazards phenomena.  A classification for fire should be added.  Table 3 lists the disasters by category and frequency.

Geographical Distribution

The geographic nature of the disasters was examined. Table 4 shows their distribution by Canadian province.  Of the 29 events that could not be assigned to a specific province, 10 occurred in more than one province and the remaining 19 were Table 2 items that occurred outside the country.   Generally, the locations reflect the population density with the many disasters occurring along the East Coast and in the St. Lawrence River area.  On land, they were centred near the large population centres of eastern Canada.  Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island are the provinces with the fewest disasters (and the Arctic territories).
 

Manitoba had a train wreck at Dugald in 1947 which caused 40 deaths and several Red River floods which had high economic losses but very few fatalities.  PEI's only disaster was the 1851 "Yankee Gale" which sunk 70 US ships nearby and taking up to 300 lives.  Major Canadian cities which have never had a disaster meeting the criteria are Ottawa, Saskatoon and Calgary.
 
There were only five occurrences in the Canadian Arctic found in the references:

  • the Rea Point NU Pan Arctic Electra crash in 1974 in which 32 oil and gas workers lost their lives;

  • the loss of the Franklin expedition in Nunavut (NU) where 129 officers and crew of "HMS Erebus" and "HMS Terror" perished over the two-year period 1847 to 1848;

  • the 1991 Hercules crash near Alert NU with the loss of 18 lives;

  • the crash in the Yukon, in 1950, of a U.S. military transport plane with 44 persons aboard; and

  • the First Air 737 crash at Resolute Bay, NU, 20 August 2011 killing 12 of the 15 people on board.
Other Findings of Interest
  • Canada's best known and worst disaster, in terms of lives lost at one time, is undoubtedly the Halifax Explosion of 1917. It had the highest death toll (nearly 2,000), was documented in the most references, and was the only Canadian disaster meeting the criteria to appear in the Guinness Book of Records.
  •   
  • Only one other disaster, meeting the criteria, killed over 1,000 people.  This was the collision of the ships "Empress of Ireland" and "Storstad" near Rimouski in 1914.  A 1775 storm off Newfoundland  reportedly killed 4,000, presumably in ships lost offshore (only reference was the Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar).  Later, a description of this storm was found in a St. John's newspaper which indicates the approximate death toll of 300 and another researcher set the toll at 400, following detailed study.
  •  
  • The 1903 Frank Slide at Turtle Mountain AB which killed 70 people is mentioned in nine references, the highest number, making it arguably as well known as the Halifax Explosion.
     
  • In terms of total loss of life, the 1918 influenza epidemic which claimed between 30,000 and 50,000 Canadians in five months ranks as Canada's worst disaster (although epidemics were excluded from the disaster criteria of this paper).
  •  
  • Deaths due to wars were originally excluded from the paper.  Because Canada has had few major battles on home soil or in nearby seas, two war actions are now reported in Table 2:  The 1942 sinking of the ferry "Caribou" by a German U-boat off the Newfoundland coast, and the disappearance of a Newfoundland fishing schooner in 1914 which was attributed to hitting a mine.
  •  
  • Several disasters recurred at the same place. There were six wrecks near Sable Island, NS; four disasters in the Crowsnest Pass border area of Alberta/B.C. (mines and landslide); three air crashes near Gander NL; three or more disasters at coal mines in Nanaimo and Springhill, and in Lower Quebec City due to rock falls; two at the site of the Quebec Bridge; and two disasters of different categories in remote Mégantic County QC.
     
  • In another coincidence, senior citizens died in almost-identical bus crashes on the same steep hill near St. Joseph de la Rive (aka Les éboulements), Quebec; 13 deaths in 1974; 43 deaths in 1997.
  •  
  • Twenty-eight people were killed in 1929 when a tsunami struck Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula following an earthquake in the Grand Banks area.  This event was Canada's only tsunami or earthquake disaster.
  •  
  • The 1912 Regina Tornado which killed between 28 and 30 people, and the 1987 Edmonton Tornado which resulted in 27 deaths, are the two deadliest Canadian tornado events.
  •   
  • While there have been many lightning strikes which kill one or two people at a time, there was only one major disaster directly caused by lightning (not including forest fires). The Weather Trivia Calendar reports that a freighter, "The John B. King", loaded with explosives, was struck by lightning in the St. Lawrence River in 1930.  Thirty crewmen died in the resulting explosion.
  •  
  • No mine disasters have been placed in the weather-related category.  However, following the Westray NS accident in 1992, studies of ambient atmospheric pressure in the areas of mine entrances indicate changing atmospheric pressure may be a contributing factor involved in the build-up of methane gas in mines.  Methane gas is believed to be the major cause of several coal mine disasters reported in this paper.
  •  
  • Many disasters are reported in several of the references.  They are the most familiar "household word" disasters.  In order of date, the ones found in eight or more references are:
  •  
    • The Frank Slide, Turtle Mountain, Alberta (1903);
       
    • "Empress of Ireland" and "Storstad" Collision near Rimouski (1914);
       
    • Halifax Explosion (1917);
       
    • Burin Peninsula Tsunami (1929);
       
    • Hurricane Hazel (1954);
       
    • Ste. Thérèse TCA DC8 Air Crash (1963);
       
    • Toronto Air Canada DC8 Crash (1970);
       
    • "Ocean Ranger" Sinking (1982);
       
    • "Arrow" DC8 Crash at Gander, Newfoundland (1985);
       
    • Ice Storm in Eastern Canada (1998)
    •  
  • Canada did not have a disaster meeting the criteria between 1998 and 2013. The 2013 Lac Mégantic train derailment and the L'Îsle Verte Seniors' Home Fire were our first disasters meeting the criteria in 15 years!  Further thy both occurred in Quebec within months of each other, but in the two calendar years of 2013 and 2014.
     
  • Since 1950, Canada has averaged about one disaster per year (more than one per year before 1950).  The fact that there were no disasters meeting the criteria between 1998 until the two Quebec events confirms that mitigation efforts by public and private agencies are working.

  • This startling finding (bold used for the past three bullets) may be stated another way:  No decade in Canadian history have been free of 20-death disasters - going back to 1711 -  until the decade 2001 - 2010!

SUMMARY

Despite the various events uncovered during this research, it is evident from comparisons to other countries that Canada gets off rather lightly in major disasters.  Canada has not been subject to the disastrous earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, typhoons and floods which still regularly take thousands of lives in countries like China, Bangladesh and Indonesia.  Even the United States has more weather-related disasters because its larger population is subjected to far more hurricanes than Canada, and the USA is the most tornado-prone country in the world.

UPDATE NOTES

  1. Since the final acceptance for publication of this paper in 1991, 132 new disasters meeting the criteria have been added to Table 1 and 73 new disasters have been added to Table 2.   As well, about 50 new References have been added to Table 5.
  2.  
  3. The Ice Storm of January 1998, which affected Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces, has been identified by media and other commentators as the worst Canadian natural disaster.  Abley (Reference Ic, p. 11) reports that the Ice Storm, a once-in-a-lifetime event, was the most destructive weather disaster in Canada's recorded history.  In the first 10 days following the storm, which deposited from 50 to 100 mm. of ice on hydro wires, trees and outdoor structures, 35 persons died directly as a result of the storm (22 in Quebec; four in Ontario; six in New York state; and three in Maine).  Most of these deaths were caused by effects of long periods without electricity, such as carbon monoxide poisoning from heaters, or hypothermia.
  4.  
  5. World Wide Web (WWW) sites are increasingly quoted as references.  Several are now linked to this Web version of the paper.  By 2007, Wikipedia and other Web databases became sufficiently complete that most, if not all, the disasters listed may be easily found. As well, Google on-line searches will yield additional information on almost every disaster.  Further, many of the search results from both sources are referenced and linked back to this paper.  Wikipedia has been added as Reference Wi in Table 5 but it has not be shown in all the references columns of the tables.  Old digitized newspapers are now appearing on the Web constituting a vast number of new references.
  6.  
  7. The author is aware of the transient nature and unreliability of material found on the Web, therefore as much care as possible is being taken before accepting Web references.  As well many of the Web lists of disasters now cross-reference each other, suggesting that more care is now needed to ensure correct information is found.  With each update of the paper, Web site references are verified to ensure they are still active.  In 2009, a "last accessed date" has been added to the web references, further ensuring the sites are still reachable.
  8.  
  9. Although the paper has been reorganized since being published, no major changes in abstract, findings or conclusions have been made.  It is hoped that the latest available information will ensure that the Web version of the paper is as complete as possible.
  10.  
  11. Robert C. Parsons of Grand Bank NL has authored several books detailing many East Coast marine losses.  In 1999, twelve new items from his books were added, eleven of which met the criteria (Reference Pa).  In 2002, six new items from a Web database of pre-Confederation shipwrecks by Gilbert Bossé of Little Métis (near Rimouski) QC were added.
  12.  
  13. Many other additions to the tables have been due to work by colleague, Dr. John D. Reid, who is studying historical meteorological events.  Dr. Reid's additions include marine events that met the criteria and occurred mainly in the 19th century.
  14.  
  15. Following a Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Congress in Winnipeg in May 2001, which had a theme of "Extreme Weather", three major new sources emerged which contributed to the significant update in July 2001.  It is now thought that a greater percentage than before of all Canadian disasters are now listed in the tables.  Considerable cross references, cross checks and additional items were added with thanks to:
  • Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada Disaster Database (Reference O);
  •  
  • A book published in 2000, Disaster Canada by Janet Looker (Reference L); and
  •  
  • Web database by Richard Kebabjian, covering the world's plane crashes from 1908 to date (Reference K).
     
Robert L. Jones
Updated: December 1992; March 1993; July 1993; September 1993; September 1993; December 1994; April 1996; July 1996; October 1997; March 1998; June 1998; November 1998; December 1998; September 1999; March 2000; July 2000; January 2001; July/August 2001; (minor updates) October and December 2001; February 2002; May 2003; August 2003; April 2004; December 2004; October 2005; January and July 2007; January 2008, February and October 2009, July 2013, June 2014.

Table 1a: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (before 1900)

Go to Table 1b: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1900 - 1949)

Go to Table 1c: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1950 to date)

Go to Table 2: Canadian Disasters Which Do Not Meet Criteria

#
DESCRIPTION OF DISASTER REFERENCES CAT
YEAR
DEATHS
WEATHER FACTOR
1
Wreck of "Delight" off  Sable Island NS HATBL S
1583
85
yes
2
First Nations Village of Kwalate BC Destroyed by a Rock Avalanche-generated Tsunami Ao E
late 1500s
100+
no
3
Fleet of Ships Run Aground in Fog at "Ile-aux-Oeufs", Quebec City QC HATL S
1711
884
yes
4
French Warship "Le Chameau" Wrecked in Storm off Louisbourg NS LaL S
1725
316
yes
5
Wreck of "Catherine" off Sable I. NS CaL S
1737
98
yes
6
Four French Warships Sink near Sable I. NS BL S
1746
200-300
yes
7
"Violet" and "Duke William" Sink in Storms off E. Coast with Expelled Acadians Wa S
1758
700
yes
8 "Auguste de Bordeaux" Wrecked near Dingwall, Cape Breton, NS CbCi S
1761
114
yes
9
Hurricane Hits Grand Banks Area, NL TLTeRuWi S
1775
4,000
yes
10
British Royal Navy Sloop "HMS Ontario" Sinks in E. Lake Ontario, November GkTLSwM S
1780
120-172
yes
11
Snow Avalanche Buries Aboriginal (Eskimo) Winter House near Nain, Labrador MiLi AV
1782
22
yes
12
HMS "La Tribune" Wrecked, 16 November, after Hitting Thrum Shoal Outside Halifax Harbour
LWi S
1797
238
yes
13
"Francis" Sinks in Storm off Sable I. NS B S
1799
40
yes
14
Schooner HMS "Speedy" lost Between Presqu'ile and Newcastle ON USw S
1804
20-39
yes
15
Brig "Rambler of Leith", Enroute Scotland-Pictou NS Wrecked at Bay Bulls, NL WiSc S
1807
138
yes
16
"General Hamilton" and "Scourge" Sink, 8 August, in L. Ontario CTSw S
1813
40-53
yes
17
Wreck of "Sovereign" on St. Paul's I. NS CL S
1814
799
yes
18
HMS "Penelope" Lost in Snowstorm, 30 April, near Madeleine R., Gaspé QC Bo S 1815 40 yes
19
"Harpooner" Aground, November, at St. Shotts NL PaGmLBoPa S
1816
208
yes
20
Sealer "Brothers" Lost, 18 March, in Baccalieu Tickle NL
Pa
S
1823
28
yes*
21
Roof of Sea-Cave at Ferryland NL Collapses Crushing Fishermen  Sheltering from Storm Li L
1823
42
yes
22
Miramichi, N.B. Fire in Hot, Dry Summer HATL FE
1825
200-500
yes
23 "Rob Roy" Wrecked, 28 April  at L'Islet, QC Bo S 1827 24 yes
24
Brig "Dispatch" Runs Aground S. of Newfoundland W S
1828
50
yes
25
"Lady Sherbrooke" Scuttled Near Port Aux Basques NL GmLPa S
1831
268
no
26
Irish Immigrant Bark "Astrea" Founders off Louisbourg, NS CbmCbKo S
1834
237-271
yes
27
"Fidelity Clark" from Dublin; Founders off Cape Breton; crew and passengers saved; 29 died of fatigue Ko S
1834
29
no
28
Brig "James", from Limerick Ireland, lost on the Grand Bank NL Ko S
1834
250
yes
29
Unnamed brig from W of England lost near Arichat NS, with 180 passengers; only 7 saved Ko S
1834
173
yes
30
Two Rafts Sink in Gale on Lac St-Pierre QC Ga S
1836
25
yes
31 Wreck of the Bark "Colborne", 15 October, near Port Daniel QC Bo S 1838 43 yes
32
Rockslide onto Champlain St./Cap Diamant Area of Lower Quebec City - I HAL L
1841
32
no
33 "Minstrel" Runs Aground, 21 April, on Reef at Île Rouge, St. Lawrence R. near Mouth of Saguenay R. QC Bo S 1841 148 yes
34 Bark "Amanda" Wrecked, 26 September, at Metis Point QC Bo S 1841 41 yes
35
Boiler Explodes on Schooner "Shamrock" Near Lachine QC He FE
1842
58
no
36
Wreck of the "Reindeer", 21 October, off Sable point, MI, USA, or Sable Point, ON GkSw S
1842
21
yes
37
Hurricane-force Winds on Lake Ontario & Lake Erie TL S
1844
200
yes
38 Irish Brig "Carricks" Wrecked, May, near Cap des Rosiers, Gaspé QC Bo S 1847 120 yes
39
Hurricane Hits Newfoundland TL S
1847
300
yes
40
Sealer "Bickley" Lost off Fogo I. NL
Pa
S
1847
70
*
41
Steamer "Commerce" Collision in the Dark with Steamer "Despatch",  6 May, Lake Erie Near Pt. Maitland ON BySw S
1850
37-41
no
42
"Yankee Gale" off PEI Sinks 70 U.S. Fishing Vessels TWaL S
1851
150-300
yes
43
"Atlantic" Collides, 20 August, with "Ogdensburgh" S. of Long Point, Lake Erie  (# passenger list lost in collision) MLSw S
1852
150-250#
no
44
"Ocean Wave" Burns, 30 April,  Near False Duck Island, Lake Ontario Sw S
1853
23-36
no
45
"Arctic" Collides with "Vesta" Grand Banks off C. Race NL ALPa S
1854
285-370
no
46
Trains Collide at Baptiste Creek Near  Chatham ON HAWL T
1854
52
no
47
Irish Ship "Pallas "Runs Aground, St. Paul's I. NS CTr S
1856
82
yes
48
"Northern Indiana" Burns 5 mi. off Point Pelee ON (# passenger list lost in fire) Sw FE
1856
30-56#
no
49
"Lord Ashburton" Sinks in Bay of Fundy LoM S
1857
21
yes
50
"Welsford"  Wrecked off Cape Race NL MPa S
1857
27
yes
51
Steamer "Montreal" Fire, 26 June, at Cap Rouge Near Quebec City HLBo FE
1857
253
no
52
Des Jardines Canal Train Bridge Collapse, Hamilton ON SL B
1857
60
no
53
Sinking of "Monasco" with Passengers Locked in Cabins, Corbin (Burin) NL Pa MM
1857
50
no
54
Wreck of U.S. Brig "Argo" off Sable I. NS B S
1860
30
yes
55
Wreck of "Hungarian" off Cape Sable NS TPaL S
1860
205
yes
56
Sealer "Hibernia" Sinks off Fogo I. NL
Pa
S
1861
40
*
57
Wreck of "Anglo-Saxon" near Clam Cove,  Cape Race NL APaGmLPa S
1863
238
yes
58
"Water Witch" Founders, 11 November,  in SW Gale off  Pt. Au Sable MI, USA in Lake Huron Sw S
1863
28
yes
59
Train Runs off  Bridge over Richelieu River near St. Hilaire QC, 29 June HAWL T
1864
99
no
60
St-Lawrence R. Floods, Sorel & Trois-Rivières QC T F
1865
45
yes
61
22 September Gale off SW NS Sinks "Elvira", "Robert Hopkins", "Veloz", "Wideawake", and "JP Nickerson" Mm S 1866 38 yes
62
"Great Labrador Gale", 9 October Sinks 27 Vessels CoWiT S
1867
37
yes
63
"Saxby" Gale Hits New Brunswick - Maine Border, 4-5 October Ru S
1869
21
yes
64
"City of Boston" Disappears in Storm off NS TL S
1870
191
yes
65
"Imperial" Grounded on Moira Rocks, Bay of Fundy Fi S
1870
23
yes
66
Schooner "Dove" Lost in Gale, 31 May, Conception Bay NL Pa S
1871
23
yes
67
Brig "Huntsman" Lost, 23 April, in Northern NL Icefields
Pa
S
1872
44
yes
68
"24 August Gale" (aka "Great Nova Scotia Cyclone") Sinks 330 Ships in the Atlantic Provinces TEWaLWi S
1873
500
yes
69
Wreck of "Atlantic" in Fog off Prospect NS HALC S
1873
562
yes
70
Drummond Coal Mine Explosion & Fire, 13 May, Westville, Pictou Co. NS HAL M
1873
60-70
no
71
Steamer "George S. Wright" Lost in Snowstorm, Queen Charlotte Sound BC Fi S
1873
30
yes
72
"Calcutta" Sinks in Heavy Weather North of Grindstone Island QC  Fi S
1875
23
yes
73
S.S. "Pacific" Sinks near Victoria BC PAL S
1875
236
no
74
Schooner "Rose" Disappears in mid-October, Enroute from Labrador to Carbonear NL
Pa
S
1877
47
*
75
Steamer "Waubino" Sinks, 22 November, in Georgian Bay Gale near Parry Sound ON ArSw S
1879
24
yes
76
Drummond Coal Mine Explosion, Stellarton NS H M
1880
44
no
77
Ferry "Victoria" Flips Over Near London ON SHATLLn S
1881
182
no
78
"Jane Miller" Disappears in Gale, 26 November, near Colpoy's Bay, Georgian Bay ON  SwM S
1881
30
yes
79
Passenger Vessel SS "Lion" Explodes, 6 January, Enroute St. John's to Trinity NL
Pa
S
1882
43-60
no
80
"Asia" Sinks in Gale, 14 September, Near Byng Inlet, Georgian Bay TMLSw S
1882
123
yes
81
Remnants of Tropical Storm Cross the Grand Banks Sinking Many Fishing Boats, 26 August TWi M
1883
70-80
yes
82
Schooner "Mary Ann Hulbert" Sinks Under Tow in Lake Superior, 14 December, Near Thunder Bay ON Sw S
1883
20
yes
83
CPR Ship "Algoma" Sinks in Storm, 7 November, Lake Superior near Isle Royale, MI USA TSw S
1885
37-48
yes
84
Gale Sinks 89 Ships off Labrador, 12 October McCo S
1885
300
yes
85
Great Fire of Vancouver SHPL FE
1886
30-40
yes
86
Nanaimo Mine Disaster - I PL M
1887
148-153
no
87
Nanaimo Mine Disaster - II (#5 Mine) PL M
1888
75-77
no
88
Rockslide onto Champlain St./Cap Diamant Area Lower Quebec City - III HAL L
1889
45-47
no
89
Springhill Mine Disaster - I SHAL M
1891
125
no
90
Schooners "Maggie Foote", "George Foote" and "Reason" Lost in August Gale, S. Coast NL Pa S
1892
32
yes
91
Loss of "Dorcas" and Towed Barge "Etta Stewart" off Halifax in Second Great August Gale, 21-22 August CbmCb S
1893
25
yes
92
Streetcar Falls from Point Ellice Bridge, Victoria BC HAPL T
1896
55
no
93
"La Bourgogne"/"Cromartyshire" Collision off NS ABL S
1898
527-545
yes
94
"City of Monticello" Founders off Yarmouth NS Y S
1899
36
yes

* Weather-related factor uncertain from description


Table 1b: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1900 - 1949)

Go to Table 1a: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (before 1900)

Go to Table 1c: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1950 to date)

Go to Table 2: Canadian Disasters Which Do Not Meet Criteria

#
DESCRIPTION OF DISASTER REFERENCES CAT
YEAR
DEATHS
WEATHER FACTOR
95
"Planet Mercury" Disappears off NS Coast Y S
1900
45
yes*
96
Tanker "Heligoland" Aground St. Shotts NL Pa S
1900
35
yes
97
Remains of the "Galveston Hurricane" Sinks Many Ships in Atlantic Provinces** Re S
1900
86**
yes
98
"St. Olaf" Sinks in Snowstorm near Sept-Îles QC MFi S
1900
27
yes
99
Union Mine Explosion, Grand Forks BC O M 1901
64
no
100
Coal Creek Mine Explosion, Fernie BC (Crowsnest Pass area) - I CrO M
1902
128
no
101
Grand Trunk Railway Collision, Wanstead ON Ra T
1902
28
no
102
Explosion in Extension Colliery Mine, Cranberry BC O M
1902
32
no
103
Frank Slide, Turtle Mtn., April 29, Frank AB SHATRFMOL L
1903
70
no
104
Great Lakes Gales Sink Ships L S
1905
70
yes
105
Wreck of "Valencia" near Cape Beale, Vancouver I., 26 January TC S
1906
136
yes
106
Quebec Bridge Collapse - I, 29 August SHAROL B
1907
75
no
107
Sealers from "Greenland" Freeze on Ice off NL Mc I
1908
48
yes
108 Leda Clay Landslide into du Lièvre R., 26 April, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette QC OCi L 1908 34 no*
109 Kootenay Valley Fire, Elk River BC, towns of Fernie & Michel Destroyed, 1-3 August OL FE 1908 70-100 yes*
110
Steamship "Hestia" Lost off Grand Manan I. NB  Gi S
1909
34
yes
111 Landslide, Burnaby & New Westminster BC, 28 November.  Train Derailed. O L 1909 22 yes*
112
Avalanche in Rogers Pass BC (5 March) HACTMOL AV
1910
62
yes
113
CPR Derailment, (Spanish R.) Sudbury ON HMWOL T
1910
43
no
114
Bellevue Mine Explosion, Crowsnest Pass AB FCrL M
1910
30
no
115
Montreal Herald Building Collapses  (June 14) Ga C
1910
32
no
116
"SS Regulos" Lost in Motion Bay NL (near Petty Harbour, 15 km S of St. John's) Co S
1910
20
yes
117
Forest Fire 14 July, South Porcupine ON RTOLT FE
1911
73-100
yes
118
Regina SK Tornado (called "Cyclone" in some reports) STROL WX
1912
28-30
yes
119
"SS Florence" Hits Cliffs near Mariner's Cove NL Pa S
1912
20
yes
120
38 Ships Sink in Great Lakes Storm (7-13 November) STMOL S
1913
244
yes
121
Coal Dust Explosion, Hillcrest AB (Crowsnest Pass area) HAFCrOL M
1914
189
no
122
Four Seal Ships Caught in Ice (April 1) off NL HSTML I
1914x
77
yes
123
"Southern Cross" Vanishes in Same Storm off NL HLPa S
1914x
173-178
yes
124
"Empress of Ireland"/"Storstad" Collision off Rimouski QC SHATRMOL S
1914
1,014
yes
125
Britannia Mine Avalanche, Howe Sound BC CO AV
1915
57
yes
126
Western Fuel Co. Mine Explodes BC O M
1915
22
no
127
Forest Fire Ignited by Lightning, 29 July, Cochrane / Matheson ON SHAMOL FE
1916
223
yes

128

St. Ferdinand d'Halifax Insane Asylum Fire, 31 December, Saint Ferdinand QC
WgGo
FE
1916
45
no
129
Halifax Explosion, 6 December SHATGROLRu FE
1917
1,963
no
130
Dominion Co. Coal Mine Explosion, New Waterford NS HO M
1917
65
no
131
Coal Dust Explosion, Coal Creek Mines (#3 Michel Mine E.), Fernie BC - II CrO M
1917
34
no
132
Schooner "Mina Swim" Disappears Enroute from Burin to Grand Banks NL Pa S
1917
21-23
no*
133
HMCS "Galiano" Sinks in Heavy Seas off Queen Charlotte Islands BC Wi S
1918
36
yes
134
"SS Florizel" Aground, 26 February, N. of Cape Race NL  Pa S
1918
94
yes
135
Allan Mine Explosion, Stellarton NS HO M
1918
88
no
136
"Inkermann", Newly-built French Minesweeper Sinks in Storm in mid-Lake Superior Sw S
1918
38
yes
137
Fire at Grey Nunnery, Montreal QC L FE
1918
53
no
138 Landslide, Dam Burst and Flood, Britannia Beach BC, 28 October O L 1921 37 yes
139
Forest Fire, Haileybury ON RO FE
1922
44
yes
140
Colliery Explosion, Comox BC - II O M
1923
33
no
141
"Sylvia Mosher" and "Sadie A. Knickle" Sink in Gale, 8 August, off  Sable I. NS BMm S
1926
49
yes
142
"Laurier Palace" Theatre Fire in Montreal QC SHAROL FE
1927
77
no
143
Nine Schooners (including "Joyce M. Smith"; "Clayton Walters"; "Mahala"; "Columbia"; "Vienna"; "Loretta"; "Valena"; "Una Corkum") lost off NL and NS in 24-25 August Gale PaBOMm S
1927
87
yes
144
School Fire, Quebec City QC L FE
1927
40
no
145
Naval Sloop "Acorn" Sinks off Halifax NS AOL S
1928
115
no*
146
Tsunami Hits Burin Peninsula, NL (all deaths in NL except one drowning in Cape Breton NS),18 November SHATOLRuT E
1929
28
no
147
John B. King" Explodes and Sinks in St. Lawrence R. after Lightning Strike TOL WX
1930
30
yes
148
Explosion in the Colliery, Coalmont BC O M
1930
45
no
149
Sealing Ship "Viking" Explodes, 15 March, off  St. Barbe Island NL MoLCi FE
1931
27
no
150
Schooners "Alsatian" and "Arthur D. Strong" Disappear in March Storm, Grand Banks NL  Pa S
1935
23
yes
151
Storm Destroys Villages in NL, 25 August O WX 1935 50 yes
152
Train hits Farm Truck at Level Crossing,  Louiseville QC HCiO T
1936
22
no
153
Schooner "Partanna" Wrecked near St. Shotts NL Pa S
1936
25
yes
154 Cable Breaks in Mine Shaft, Sydney Mines, Cape Breton NS, 6 December O M 1938 20 no
155
Sacred Heart Residential School Fire, St. Hyacinthe QC, 18 January L FE
1938
46
no
156
Three Great Lakes Ships Wrecked in Storm T S
1940
69
yes
157
Bell Island Ferries "W Garland" and "Little Golden Dawn" Collide, 10 November, Conception Bay NL CoPa S
1940
22-24
no
158 Prairie Blizzard, 14 March, Causes Deaths in Three Provinces and USA O WX
1941
76
yes
159 American Airlines DC3 Crashes, 30 October, near St. Thomas ON K A 1941 20 no*
160
Arsonist Sets Knights of Columbus Hostel Fire, St. John's NL HARMcOL MM
1942
99
no
161
Troop Train Hits Stopped Passenger Train, Almonte ON WO T
1942
36
no
162
"Truxton" & "Pollux" Aground off NL ATMcOPa S
1942
204
yes
163
Yacht "Wawinet" Sinks 21 September,  After Turn in Calm Water off Penetanguishene, Georgian Bay ON MSw S
1942
25
no
164
Great Lakes Gales Sink Ships L S
1942
50
yes
165
"Fanad Head" & "Flora Alberta" Collide, April, off S. Shore NS PrMm S
1943
21
no
166
RCAF Liberator Bomber (B24) Crash, 19 October, Saint-Donat QC (airmen travelling on leave) HOK A
1943
24
no
167
December 11 Snowstorm in Southern Ontario StTO WX
1944
21
yes
168 RCAF Transport Plane (C-47 Dakota) Crashes, 15 September, near Estevan SK  OK A 1946 20 no
169
Belgian Sabena DC4 Crashes, 18 September, SW of Gander Lake NL NK A
1946
27
yes
170
American Overseas Airlines Douglas C54E Crashes, 3 October, at Stephenville NL KCo A
1946
39
yes
171
Passenger Trains Collide at Dugald, E. of Winnipeg MB SOL T
1947
31-40
no
172 Rimouski Air DC3 Crashes in Fog, 24 July, at Cap des Rosiers, Gaspé QC K A 1948 26 yes
173
RCAF Canso Crashes, 21 August, in Thunderstorms near Bigstone Lake (about 200 km NE of Lake Winnipeg) MB. KSt A
1949
21
yes
174
"Noronic" Burns, 17 September, in Toronto Harbour SHAOLSw FE
1949
118
no
175
Bomb Explodes, 9 September, 40 Miles East of Québec City on Québec Air DC3 (see Note, Table 3) HAOK MM
1949
23
no

x The same storm

* Weather-related factor uncertain from description

** An additional 120 fishermen from St. Pierre et Miquelon reportedly died in this storm


Table 1c: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1950 to date)

Go to Table 1a: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (before 1900)

Go to Table 1b: Canadian Disasters Meeting Criteria (1900-1949)

Go to Table 2: Canadian Disasters Which Do Not Meet Criteria

#
DESCRIPTION OF DISASTER REFERENCES CAT
YEAR
DEATHS
WEATHER FACTOR
176
US Military Transport Plane Lost, 26 January, near Snag YK MLK A
1950
44
no*
177
Trains Collide, Canoe River BC HO T
1950
21
no
178 Queen Charlotte Air Catalina Crashes, 17 October, into Mt. Benson, near Nanaimo BC K A 1951 23 yes
179 Northwest Orient Airlines DC4 Crashes, 19 January, off Sandspit BC K A
1952
36 yes
180
Bus Plunges into Williamsburg Canal, Morrisburg ON HCiO T
1953
20
no
181 Lancashire Aircraft Corporation  (Skyways) Avro 685 York 1 Disappears, 2 February, about 200 miles east of NL K A
1953
39 no*
182
Hurricane Hazel, 15 October, Southern ON SHATRMOL WX
1954
83
yes
183 Trans-Canada Airliner Collides with RCAF "Harvard" Trainer, 8 April,  near Moose Jaw SK 
(includes one death on the ground)
OLKCi A 1954 37 no
184
TCA Northstar Crashes onto Mt. Slesse, near Hope BC, 9 December DMLK A
1956
62
yes
185
Springhill NS Mine Disaster - II SHARL M
1956
39
no
186
Maritime Central Airways DC4 Crashes, 11 August, at Issoudun QC (40 km SW of Quebec City) MLK A
1957
79
yes
187
Springhill NS Mine Disaster - III SHAROL M
1958
75
no
188
50 Salmon and Lobster Fishing Boats Sink in Storm, 19-20 June, near Escuminac NB HRO S
1959
32-35
yes
189
Northwest Orient DC7 Crash, 3 June, NW of Queen Carlotte Is. BC AOK A
1963
101
no*
190
TCA DC8 Crash, 29 November, Sainte-Thérèse QC SHATDMOLK A
1963
118
no*
191
Severe Winter Storm Hits Maritimes T WX
1964
23
yes
192
Apartment Explosion and Fire, LaSalle QC AO FE
1965
28
no
193
Granduc Mountain Avalanche, Stewart BC CTOL AV
1965
26
yes
194
CP Air DC6B Explodes and Crashes, 8 July, at Dog Creek W of  100-Mile House BC (Saboteur on Board)(see Note, Table 3) MLK MM
1965
52
no
195 St. Lawrence R. Flood and Ice Jam Downstream from Montréal O F 1965 20 yes
196
Level (Train) Crossing  Accident, Dorion QC (19 teenagers and bus driver killed) Ci T
1966
20
no
197
Ore Carrier "D.J. Morrell" Sinks in Lake Huron T S
1966
28
yes
198
Czechoslovakian Ilyushin Turboprop Crashes on Takeoff, 5 September, Gander NL DNLK A
1967
37
no
199
"Cape Bonnie", "Polly & Robbie" and "Iceland II" Sink in Storm, 21-24 February, off NS and PEI PaMm S
1967
35
yes
200
Nursing Home Fire, Notre-Dame-du-Lac QC AOL FE
1969
54
no
201
Air Canada DC8 Crash, 5 July, at Toronto Airport SHADMOLK A
1970
109
no
202
Leda Clay Landslide Opens Crater after Rainstorm, 4 May, St-Jean-Vianney QC HAOLCi L
1971
31
yes
203
"Blue Bird" Bar Fire in Montreal AOL FE
1972
37
no
204
Pan Arctic Electra Crash, 30 October, Rea Point NU HMOLK A
1974
32
no*
205
"Edmund Fitzgerald" Founders and Sinks, 10 November, off Whitefish Point, Lake Superior SATOLSw S
1975
29
yes
206 Nursing Home Fire at Petty Harbour, near  St. John's NL, 26 December  O FE 1976 21 no
207
Cell Block Fire, Saint John NB AL FE
1977
20
no
208
Bus Plunges into Lac d'Argent, Eastman, Eastern Townships QC HACiOL T
1978
41
no
209
PWA 737 Crash, 11 February, Cranbrook BC DOLK A
1978
42
yes
210
Social Club Fire, Chapais QC HAOL FE
1980
44
no
211
Tanker Truck/Bus Collision at Webb SK near AB/SK Border CiO T
1980
22
no
212 Nursing Home Fire, Mississauga ON, 14 July  O FE 1980 21 no
213
Drilling Rig "Ocean Ranger" Sinks off NL, 15 February SHATMOL S
1982
84
yes
214
Charter "Arrow" DC8 Crash, 12 December, Gander NL SHATDMNOLK A
1985
256
no*
215
VIA/CN Trains Collide, Hinton AB SHAOL T
1986
26
no
216
Edmonton Tornado SHAOL WX
1987
27
yes
217
Air Ontario Fokker F-28 Crash, 10 March, Dryden ON DAMOLK A
1989
24
yes
218
"Johanna B" & "Capitaine Torres" Sink in Gulf of St. Lawrence MCiWa S
1989
39
yes
219
Westray Coal Mine Explosion, Plymouth NS SMCiOL M
1992
26
no
220
Truck/Bus Crash Lac Bouchette QC MCiL T
1993
20
no
221
"Gold Bond Conveyor" Sinks off Yarmouth NS MCiO S
1993
33
yes
222
Bus Plunges into Ravine, St. Joseph de la Rive QC - II SMCiSuOL T
1997
44
no
223
Ice Storm Ravages Eastern Canada (27 deaths in Canada; 19 deaths in USA) SCMCiSuTIcOL WX
1998
27
yes
224
Freighter "Flare" sinks Southwest of Newfoundland MCiO S
1998
21
yes
225
Swissair MD11 Crashes, 2 September, off Peggy's Cove NS (Flight 111) SMCiSuOLK A
1998
229
no
226
Train Derailment and Petroleum Explosions, Lac Mégantic QC, 7 July MCiGa
T
2013
47
no
227
Fire in Seniors' Home, L'Îsle Verte QC
MCIGa
F
2014
33
no

* Weather-related factor uncertain from description


Table 2: Canadian Disasters Which Do Not Meet Criteria

Go to Table 1:  Canadian Disasters Which Meet Criteria
 
#
DESCRIPTION OF DISASTER
REFERENCES CAT
YEAR
DEATHS
WEATHER FACTOR
1
Genocide of Newfoundland Aboriginals (Beothuk Indians) S MM
1600-1829
1,000-2,000
no
2
Pestilence on French Armada Ships in Bedford Basin, NS After Surviving Sable I. Storm  BL D
1746
1,000+
no
3
Royal Navy Warship, "HMS Ontario", Lost in Storm E. Lake Ontario off Oswego NY Sw S
1780
172-350
yes
4
Montreal Cholera Epidemic L D
1832
947
no
5
Two Quebec City Fires, May and June H FE
1845
23
yes
6 Cholera and Typhoid Fever Kills Irish Immigrants on Grosse Île QC Pk D
1847
5,200 no
7
Typhoid Fever Kills Irish Immigrants on Partridge Island Quarantine Station Near Saint John NB SjL D
1847
600
no
8
Loss of Franklin Expedition, Nunavut HL I
1847-48
129
yes
9 Rockslide onto Champlain St./Cap Diamant Area of Lr. Quebec City - II L L 1852 7 no
10
Cholera Epidemic in Saint John NB
Sj
D
1854
1.500
no
11
Canada-wide Smallpox Epidemic L D
1862
20,000
no
12 Near Extinction by Smallpox of  Haida of Queen Charlotte Is. BC  Su D 1862-1872 9,400 no
13 "Bavarian" Sinks, 5 November, off Bowmanville ON FiSw S 1873 14 no
14
Schooner "Kittie" Flounders, about 4 April, Enroute Mulgrave NS to Boston Fi S
1876
63
yes
15
Great Fire of Saint John NB ATL FE
1877
11-100
yes
16
Lake Ontario Flash Flood T F
1883
18
yes
17
Thames River Flood of West London ON Ln F
1883
17
yes
18
Smallpox Outbreak, Montreal HL D
1885
5,864
no
19
Great Fire of Ottawa / Hull QC, 26 April
Wi
FE
1900
7
yes
20
Collapse of #2 Mine Slope, (Wellington) Nanaimo BC - III O M 1901 16 no
21
Canadian Pacific Steamer "Islander" Hits Iceberg and Sinks, 15 August, near Juneau, Alaska St S
1901
45
no
22
CPR Trains Collide in Eastern Ontario Rc T
1904
13
no
23
Convent Fire, Ste. Genevieve QC (West Montreal Island, 20 April Ga FE
1905
15
no
24 Landslide into River at Spence's Bridge BC O L 1905 15 no*
25
Hochelaga School Fire, Montreal, 26 February GaSt FE
1907
17
no
26
"Titanic" Hits Iceberg About 370 Miles SE of NL SATGRu I
1912
1,522
no
27
"SS Erna"Disappears Enroute Glasgow to St. John's NL Pa S
1912
51
no*
28
NL Steamer "Sharon" Lost Enroute to Ireland (possibly struck mine) Pa W
1914
30
no
29
Mine Accident Drowns Miners,  (Wellington) Nanaimo BC - IV O M 1915 19 no
30
Second Quebec Bridge Collapse SHAOL B
1916
13
no
31
Spanish Influenza Epidemic SBaOL D
1918
30,000-50,000
no
32
"Princess Sophia" Runs Aground in Inside Passage, Alaska (Vanderbilt Reef), 24 October  SHATBML S
1918
343
yes
33
Colliery Explosion-I, Comox BC O M
1922
18
no
34
Severe Summer Heat Wave in MB & ON (incl. 400 drownings while trying to cool off) TO WX
1936
1,180
yes
35
Runaway Mine Tractor, Sydney NS M M
1938
16
no
36 Forest Fire Started by Settlers' Brush Fires, Dance Township ON, 10-15 October O FE 1938 17 no*
37
"Dirty Thirties" in Prairie Provinces SOL WX
1930-39
780
yes
38
Trans Canada Airlines Lockheed Electra Crashes near Armstrong ON, 6 February K A
1941
12
no*
39
Ferry "Caribou" Torpedoed 20 miles off NL coast (Cabot Strait), 14 October HoLPa W
1942
136-137
no
40
HMCS Valleyfield Torpedoed 90 miles E of NL CiGr W
1944
125
no
41
Lake St. Clair Tornado TO WX
1946
17
yes
42 Trans Canada Air Lines Lockheed Lodestar Crashes, 28 April, near Vancouver BC K A 1947 15 yes*
43
Red River Flood MB HTRL F
1950
1
yes
44
MacGregor Mine Explosion, Stellarton NS CiO M
1952
19
no
45
Freighter Sinks in High Winds in L. Superior T S
1953
17
yes
46
Polio Outbreaks Prior to Salk Vaccine HOL D
1953-54
638
no
47
Bus Truck Collision, Yamachiche QC SuCi T
1954
15
no*
48
CF100 Crashes, 15 May, into Convent near Ottawa CiMK A
1956
15
no
49
Queen Charlotte Air DC3 Crashes on Takeoff from Port Hardy BC, 23 June K A
1957
14
no
50
Radiation Sickness from NL Fluorspar Mine S M
1957-78
75
no
51
Second Narrows Bridge Collapse, Vancouver SHAROL B
1958
18
no
52 Fire at Olfields Apartments, 7 November, Montreal QC  O FE 1958 18 no
53
Gas Explosion in Store, Windsor ON A FE
1960
11
no
54
Bus - Station Wagon Collision, Templeton (E. of Hull) QC, 6 November Ci T
1960
11
no
55
Students Die in School Bus -Train Level Crossing Crash, Lamont AB SuCi T
1960
17
no
56 Three Fishing Boats, "Muriel Eileen"; "Jimmie and Sisters"; "Marjorie Beryl"  Lost in Storm off Lockeport NS Mm S 1961 17 yes
57
Chemical Plant Fire, La Salle QC A FE
1966
11
no
58
CP Air DC8 Crashes, 4 March, on Seawall, Tokyo Japan DK A
1966
64
yes

Heron Road Bridge Collapse, Ottawa, 10 August


1966
9

59
Victoria Hotel Fire, Dunnville ON A FE
1969
13
no
60
60-hour Snowstorm Dumps 70 cm. on Montreal T WX
1969
15
yes
61
Bus - Truck Collision During Blizzard, Hwy 400, Barrie ON SuCiO T
1973
12
yes
62
Bus Plunges into Ravine, St. Joseph de la Rive, QC - I SMCi T
1974
13
no
63
"Go"  Train - Bus Collision, Toronto ON MCi T
1975
10
no*
64
Transport Truck - Bus - Pickup Collision, Nanaimo BC MCi T
1977
11
no
65
12 Students and one Teacher from St. John's School Die of Hypothermia in L. Temiskaming while Canoeing, 11 June J WX
1978
13
yes
66
Bus Crashes into Overpass, St. Hyacinthe QC MSuCi T
1979
11
yes
67 Quebec Air Fairchild F27 Crashes, on Take-off, 29 March, from Quebec City OK A 1979 17 no
68
Mississauga Derailment, Toronto SL T
1979
0
no
69 "Arctic Explorer" Hits Iceberg and Sinks off N Coast of NL, 3 July O I 1981 13 yes
70
Fire Aboard Air Canada DC9, 2 June, Cincinnati Ohio DOK A
1983
23
no
71
Barrie / Central Ontario Tornadoes SHATMOL WX
1985
12
yes
72
Air India 747 Crash, 23 June, off Ireland (280 Canadians aboard)(see Note, Table 3) SHAOK MM
1985
329
no
73
Trawler "Hosanna" Sinks 400 km off C. Race T S
1987
34
yes
74
"Athenian Venture" Burns 600 km off C. Race MCi S
1988
29
no
75 Heat Wave, Central and Southern ON, 5-11 July O WX 1988 14 yes
76
Logging Truck Hits Hayride in NB MCi T
1989
13
no
77
Gunman Kills Women at École Polytechnique, Montreal MCiO MM
1989
15
no
78 Cold Wave from Yukon to Ontario, 30 January O WX 1989 13 yes
79 Faucett Air Boeing 727, Enroute Reykjavík-Gander, Runs out of Fuel and Disappears off NL, 11 September K A 1990 18 no*
80
"Protektor" Disappears 400 km E. of NL MCiO S
1991
33
yes
81
Collision of Transport Truck and Van, Cobalt ON MCi T
1991
11
no
82 Hercules Aircraft Crashes Near Alert NU, 30 October OK A 1991 5-18 yes
83
"Salvador Allende" Sinks 900 km S. of NL MCi S
1994
29
yes
84 "Marika 7" from Sept-Îles QC Sinks 1400 km E. of St. John's NL O S 1994 36 yes
85
Gunman Kills Family & Self, Vernon BC MCi MM
1996
10
no
86
Saguenay Floods QC MCiOL F
1996
10
yes
87
Propair Metroliner Crashes at Mirabel, Montreal QC, 18 June K A
1998
11
no
88 Avalanche, Kangiqsualujjuaq QC, Jan. 1 OL AV 1999 9 yes
89 Egypt Air Flt. 990 Crash off Nantucket, USA, 31 October (21 Canadians of  217 killed) M A 1999 21 no
90
E-Coli in Water Supply, Walkerton ON SMCiL D
2000
7
yes
91
Pine Lake AB Tornado, July 14 SMCiL WX
2000
12
yes
92
September 11 Terror Attacks in USA (23 Canadians died in WTC; two on hijacked aircraft)  MCiSuSt MM
2001
25
no
93 Back-to-back Avalanches, January and February, near Revelstoke BC Bury Skiers (seven each) MCiSu AV 2003 14 yes
94
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Outbreak, Toronto ON, March - July SMCiSu D
2003
44
no
95
Category 2 Hurricane "Juan" hits Halifax, 29 September SMCiSuSt WX
2003
8
yes
96
Canadians Dead or Missing in South Asian Tsunami which Killed 226,000, 26 December MCiSuSt
2004
26
no
97
Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in Toronto ON, October MCiSuSt D
2005
21
no

98

Listeriosis Outbreak from Contaminated Food, Maple Leaf Foods, Toronto ON MCiSuSt D

2008

20

no

99
Cougar Helicopter Crashes off St. John's NL, 12 March MCiSuSt A
2009
17
no
100
Haiti Earthquake Kills Many Canadians, 12 January MCiSuSt Q
2010
58
no
101
First Air 737 Crashes at Resolute Bay, NU, 20 August MCiSuSt A
2011
12
yes
102
Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak, Quebec City
MCiSuSt D
2012
11
no
103
Flooding in Southern Alberta, June
MCiSuSt
F
2013
4
yes
104
Public Transit Double Decker Bus Crashes into Slow Moving Train, Ottawa 18 September
MCiSuSt T
2013
6
no

* Weather-related factor uncertain from description


Table 3:  All Canadian Disasters by Category and Frequency

Disaster Category
Category Code
Occurrences: Tables 1 & 2
Shipwrecks / Sea Waves
S
121
Air Transportation *
A
35
Fires / Explosions
FE
35
Land Transportation
T
29
Mines
M
26
Weather / Climate
WX
19
Disease/Epidemics (Table 2)
D
15
Mass Murders *
MM
10
Landslides L 9
Snow Avalanches
AV
7
Floods
F
7
Icebergs / Sea Ice
I
6
Bridge Collapses
B
4
Tsunami
E
3
Wars (Table 2)
W
2
Building Collapses
C
1
Earthquakes Q 1
Storm Surges SS 0
Volcanoes
V
0
TOTAL:
-
331
* Note: Canada's first bombing of a passenger airliner (Quebec Air, 1949), while earlier considered as an Air Transportation disaster, has been moved to the Mass Murders category, given that the bomber was convicted and executed.  Two other airliner crashes in the Tables have also been similarly identified.

Table 4 - Distribution of All Disasters by Canadian Province / Territory

Newfoundland and Labrador NL
60
Nova Scotia NS
43
Prince Edward Island PEI
1
New Brunswick NB
11
Quebec QC
65
Ontario ON
63
Manitoba MB
3
Saskatchewan SK
3
Alberta AB 8
British Columbia BC
40
Northwest Territory NWT
1
Nunavut NU 3
Yukon Territory YK
1
More Than One Province or Outside 200-Mile Limit in Table 2  
29
TOTAL (Tables 1 & 2)  
331


Table 5: References and Source Code Identification

Author / Date

Name of Publication

Code
Yates, S.: 1987 The Canadian World Almanac and Book of Facts, Global Press, Agincourt, Canada, pp. 473, 474, 477, 478.
A
Flatt, J.D.: 1985 The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Canadian Edition, Newspaper Enterprise Association Inc., New York, USA, pp. 687, 690-692.
A
Bornhold, Brian D.; Harper, John R.; McLaren, Duncan and Thomson, Richard E.: Vol. 45, June 2007  Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) Journal ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN  www.cmos.ca/pubs.html#Atmosphere-Ocean  (accessed July 2013)
Ao
- Archeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario - Printed on Plaque in Parry Sound Ontario (near recovered anchor, 1959) 
Ar
*Armstrong, Bruce.: 1981 Sable Island (NS) - History, Doubleday Canada Ltd, Toronto and Garden City, New York
B
Bacic, Jadranka: 1999 The Plague of the Spanish Flu: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 in Ottawa, Bytown Pamphlet Series No. 63
Ba
Bossé, Gilbert R.: 1998 "Navigating the Lower Saint Lawrence in the 19th Century" Web site: www.maritimehistory.comli.com/  (accessed July 2013)
Bo
- Bytown "Packet" , May 11, 1850
By
- The Canadian Geographic Magazine, The Royal Canadian Geographic Society (various dates)
C
*Campbell, Lyall: 1994 Sable Island Shipwrecks: Disaster and Survival at the North Atlantic Graveyard, Nimbus Publishers, Halfax, NS
Ca
Caplan, Robert: 1999 Cape Breton Shipwreck Stories, Breton Books
Cb
- Cape Breton's Magazine, various issues
Cbm
- Ottawa Citizen, disaster lists and clippings, various dates
Ci
Coish, Calvin: 1983 The Newfoundland Datebook, Lifestyle Books, Grand Falls Newfoundland
Co
- Canadian Museum of Rail Travel , Cranbrook, BC Web Site, subsection Crowsnest Pass - Mine Disasters
www.crowsnest.bc.ca/coal09.html  (accessed July 2013)
Cr
- Department of Transport Aviation Accident Records, Aviation Safety Bureau, Aviation Group (AABB), Transport Canada, Ottawa, Canada
D
Allaby, E.: 1973 The August Gale, A List of Atlantic Shipping Losses in the Gale of August 24, 1873, Seascope Series 1 NB Museum, Saint John, NB
E
- Fact Sheets, Alberta Government, Culture and Multiculturalism Dept.
F
- Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, Ottawa Canada,1868 - Ceased publication in 1914 
National Library of Canada,  AMICUS No. 7350777
Fi
McFarlan D. and McWhirter N.: 1989 The Guinness Book of Records, Guinness Publishing Ltd., p. 213.
G
- Montreal Gazette, disaster lists and clippings, various dates
Ga
- Grand Manan Island Web Site, www.gnb.ca/cnb/grand/ship-e.asp (accessed July 2013)
Gi
- History of the Great Lakes, J. H. Beers, Chicago 1899, republished Freshwater Press, Cleveland 1972
Gk
*Galgay, F. & McCarthy, M.: 1987 Shipwrecks of Newfoundland and Labrador, H. Cuff Publications, St. John's NF
Gm
-
Google News - An On-line Compilation of Digitized Newspapers  (accessed July 2013)
Go
Greenfield, Nathan M.: 2004 His Battle of the St. Lawrence: The Second World War in Canada, (to be published, September 2004)
Gr
Hurtig, M.: 1985 & 1988 Canadian Encyclopedia, Hurtig Publishers, Ltd., Edmonton, Canada, First Edition, 1985, pp. 496, 497; and 1988, Canadian Encyclopedia, Second Edition, pp. 601-603.
H
- Kingston Herald, July 19, 1842
He
How, Douglas: 1988 Night of the Caribou, Lancelot Press, Hantsport, Nova Scotia
Ho
Abley, Mark: 1988 The Ice Storm: An Historic Record in Photographs of January 1998 with Text by Mark Abley, McLelland and Stewart Inc., Toronto
Ic
Raffan, James: 2002 Deep Waters: Courage, Character and the Lake Timiskaming Canoeing Tragedy, Harper Collins
J
Kebabjian, Richard: 2001 Web database by Richard Kebabjian, covering the world's plane crashes from 1908 to date.  www.planecrashinfo.com  (accessed July 2013)
K
Kohli, Marjorie P. 2003 University of Waterloo, Genealogy Web Sites - Extracts From Government Immigration Reports of the Nineteenth Century - 1834 Report  www./ist.uwaterloo.ca/~marj/genealogy/thevoyage.html  (accessed July 2013)
Ko
Looker, Janet: 2000 Disaster Canada, Lynx Images Inc., Toronto Canada, printed by Transcontinental Printing Inc
L
Landry, Peter: 1999 History of Nova Scotia 1600-1763, published on Web Site:  www.blupete.com/Hist/Gloss/Chameau.htm  (accessed July 2013)
La
Liverman, D.G.; Batterson, M.J.; and Taylor, D.: 2003 Geological Hazards and Disasters in Newfoundland - Recent Discoveries, Newfoundland Department of Mines and Energy, Geological Survey, Report 03-1, pages 273-278
Li
Lorimer, John G.: 1876 History of the Islands and Islets in the Bay of Fundy, Charlotte County NB, St. Stephen, NB
Lo

History of London Ontario  www.londonkiosk.ca/history.php (accessed July 2013)
Ln
- Globe and Mail, disaster lists and clippings, various dates; including when this paper was called "The Globe" in the 1800s
M
*MacKenzie, M.: 1973-8 It Happened Yesterday & Reflections of Yesteryear,
Robinson-Blackmore Printing & Publishing, Grand Falls, NF
Mc
  Moravian Mission (Labrador) Papers - National Archives of Canada, Ref. Number MG17 D1, Microfilm Reel Number M-509
Mi
N.S. Government (Dept. of Culture & Heritage), 2005 Maritime Museum of Nova Scotia - Index of Shipwrecks 
www.museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/wrecks/default.asp  (accessed July 2013)
Mm
*Mowat, Farley: 1958 The Grey Seas Under, Little, Brown, Boston, MA
Mo
- From the files of The North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander NF
N
Jones, Robert L.: 1992 Natural Hazards, Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Vol 5 No 1 1992, pp 43-51
Nh
- Public Safety Canada Disaster Database  www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/em/cdd/index-eng.aspx  (accessed July 2013)
O
*Pethick D.: 1978 British Columbia Disasters, Stagecoach Publishing, Langley, Canada
P
*Parsons, Robert C.: 1992-2004 Lost at Sea, Vols. 1 & 2; Wake of the Schooners; Toll of the Sea; Survive the Savage Sea; and Raging Winds...Roaring Sea,  Creative Publishers, 1992; 1993; 1995; 1998, 2000, St. John's NF.  Web Site:  www.atlanticwrecks.com  (accessed July 2013)
Pa
Parks Canada Web Site www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/qc/grosseile/index_E.asp  (accessed July 2013)
Pk
Pritchard, Gregory: 1993 Collision at Sea, Lancelot Press, Hantsport, NS
Pr
*Raskey, F.: 1970 Great Canadian Disasters, Longmans, Don Mills, Canada.
R
Fry, David: 1998 World Railway Database  www.danger-ahead.railfan.net/index.html  (accessed July 2013)
Ra
- Colin Churcher's Railway Pages: Significant Dates in Railway History www.railways.incanada.net/candate/ottawa.htm  (accessed July 2013)
Rc
Reid, John D.: 
2000
The 1900 Galveston Hurricane in Canada by J. Reid, Vol. 28, No. 6, pages 167-171. CMOS Bulletin, Volume 28 No. 6 December 2000 - décembre 2000 (28-6)  www.cmos.ca/bulletinindex.pdf  (accessed July 2013)
Re
Ruffman, Alan: 1995-2007 Various publications and papers.  More information available from Alan Ruffman at either Geomarine Associates Ltd., or Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.
Ru
*Schmidt, R.: 1985 Canadian Disasters, Scholastic TAB Publications Ltd., Richmond Hill, Canada.
 S
- Scottish emigration sources: 1) An Unstoppable Force: The Scottish Exodus to Canada, Lucille Empey; 2) Emigrant Passenger Ship Lists, Passenger Ships to Pictou, NS www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pictou/passlist.htm  (accessed July 2013)
Sc
- City of Saint John NB Tourism Web Site (History)  www.new-brunswick.net/Saint_John/partridge/  (accessed July 2013)
Sj
- Toronto Star, disaster lists and clippings, various dates
St
- Ottawa Sun, disaster lists and clippings, various dates
 Su
Phillips, D.W.: 1985-1989 The Canadian Weather Trivia Calendars, Minister of Supply and Services, Ottawa, Canada.  Includes David W. Phillips personal references.
T
- St. John's Evening Telegraph (clippings)
Te
Trace, Mary Kearns: 1998 Traces from the Past - Canadian Immigration Finding Aids Web Site (web site now defunct; trying to find new one)
Tr
History of the Settlement of Upper Canada, Dudley & Burns Printers, Victoria Hall, 1869
U
Swayze, David D.: 1998-2001(1.)  

James Kennard (2.)

1. The Great Lakes Shipwreck File: Total Losses of Great Lakes Ships 1679-1999 by David D. Swayze, Lake Isabella, MI 
www.greatlakeshistory.homestead.com/temp.html 
(accessed July 2013)

2. Web site:  www.shipwreckworld.com  (accessed July 2013)

W
Watson, Julie V: 1994 Shipwrecks and Seafaring Tales of PEI, Hownslow Press, Toronto
Wa
**many authors On-line Encyclopedia "Wikipedia" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (accessed July 2013) or multiple on-line sources found by "Google" and other search engines
Wi
-
Wikipedia www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Galiano  (accessed July 2013) Wi
*Lawson, J. Murray: 1902 Yarmouth Past and Present, Vol. I-II (2), Yarmouth Herald Printers
Y

*   Whole Book References, most pages referenced.
** Web encyclopediae are not usually added to the references columns in the Tables, but can be used to access information of the vast majority of Canadian Disasters.