Semi-Virtual Tour of Frank Slide Interpretive Center
Semi-Virtual Tour through Frank Slide Interpretive CentreClick thumbnail to view full-size
I have been fascinated by the Frank Slide since I moved to the area. It is unbelievable the amount of rock that came down from Turtle Mountain. I was in high school when the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre originally opened. At that time, our winters were still four months of minus 30° Celsius, and I volunteered for the annual haunted house and Halloween party for the younger kids.
In 2008, the Visitor Centre was completely revamped and the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre received a new look. Offering more programs and more comprehensive, updated information with regards to the slide.
Visiting the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre gives you a chance to find out what it was like to be in the coal mining town of Frank before the great rock avalanche. You also get a feel of what it was like to be there during the rock slide, and what happened to the town afterwards.
The Centre boasts a 70-seat, high definition theatre, and while you are there you have an opportunity to view two award-winning, audio-visual presentations, that are shown throughout the day.
"In the Mountain's Shadow" is a vibrant 25-minute presentation that presents the history of the Crowsnest Pass from immigration through coal mining to rum running. Below you will see a short clip from this presentation to give you an idea of how stunning it is.
"On the Edge of Destruction" is a powerful, 30-minute docudrama that recreates the remarkable night the rock-slide came down. There is a short scene selection of this unbelievable presentation on Youtube. You can view it here.
"In the Mountain's Shadow" was the original reason we visited the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on this particular day, Kaos (my other half) wanted to go up and see the older slide show. He hasn't been up there in years, although I have been there a couple of times with the kids.
One of those times was during the annual Rum Runner Weekend in Blaimore and the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre had an open house that weekend. There were arts and crafts for the kids and a science presentation, where we received the cup you see in the picture. We used dry ice in water to make the cups change colours and for a 10 year old it was an awesome time (and for me too!).
Frank Slide Interesting Links
- Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
This will take you to the photo gallery, from there you can check out the other cool stuff on their website.
- ARCHIVED - Frank Rockslide - Earth - SOS! Canadian Disasters - Library and Archives Canada
- CBC Digital Archives - Natural Disasters General - 1903: 90 seconds of terror in the Frank rockslide
Relive Canada's history through CBC Radio and Television.
- Turtle Mountain Monitoring Program
The Alberta Geological Survey Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project studies the site of the Frank Slide landslide.
Provincial Historic Site of Alberta
In 1958, people of the Crowsnest Pass tried to get the Frank Slide designated as a National Historic Site.
Unable to achieve this, it was later designated as a Provincial Historic Site of Alberta.
In 1976, the provincial government designated the slide area as a restricted development zone, which prevents alteration of the site.
The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre was opened in 1985 and receives over 100,000 tourists annually. It boasts a wonderful museum and tourist shop.
Inside is phenomenal documentation of the Frank Slide and the region's coal mining history. Outside, well maintained walking trails take you through the massive field of limestone rock.
The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre is dedicated to one of the largest landslides of Canadian history, of which today, still remains the deadliest.
A hot topic of the area is the possibility of another slide happening in the area, off the East facing section section this time.
With the geological equipment used to monitor the mountain, it is said that it is no longer a matter of IF the mountain falls again, but WHEN.
Have you ever been to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre?
Frank Slide in Music
- Robert Gard's "Ballad of the Frank Slide" (BMI Canada 1949)
- Ed McCurdy did a ballad featuring the story of Frankie Slide in the 1950s.
- The most recent is song by The Rural Alberta Advantage, "Frank, AB".
- Below is a video of Stompin' Tom Connors' "How the Mountain Came Down."
- The Frank Slide has also been the subject of several books, both fictional and historical.
Stompin' Tom Connors - How The Mountain Came Down
I left the Crowsnest Pass for 15 years before returning in 2001. I have been so focused on camping, fishing and hiking, that I sometimes forget the extraordinary things around me. Living right beside Turtle Mountain, I sometimes take for granted all the beauty I have around me, right in front of me.
Below is a collection of photo's I have taken over the years. Some as much as 8 years ago, and some last week. I hope you enjoy them.