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A Sombre Anniversary

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

The Alberta Creek Debris Torrent: A special series from The Watershed

This month marks the fortieth anniversary of the debris torrent that rocketed down Alberta Creek and through Lions Bay in the middle of the night, killing two teenagers, destroying three homes and damaging many others.

While the history of the Sea to Sky corridor reflects the inherent geological instability of the region, February 11, 1983 was a day that changed this village forever.

The photo above is from the Squamish Library archives, and depicts the wreckage of the Olsen home in Lions Bay, a month after it was destroyed by the debris torrent on that February night.

This month The Watershed will take a look back at what happened that day, sifting through archival material and recalling memories from some of the people who were there the time. We'll also look at some of the changes that have taken place in the village and along the highway since that time.

In 2021, Creekstone Productions produced a short film called The Darkest Night: The Story of the Alberta Creek Debris Torrent. Produced by John Pappas, the film takes a look at the February 11th event through the eyes of some of the people who were there. The film is dedicated to the lives of Tom and David Wade, the two boys who lost their lives that night. You can watch it HERE, hosted on the Lions Bay Village YouTube site.

As always, The Watershed welcomes any comments or memories our readers would like to share. You can reach out by email to

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John Dudley
John Dudley
Feb 01, 2023

Thanks for posting this Karen. It was the day before my 40th birthday and the images of that terrible night will always be with me. John Papas did an incredible job of putting this film together.

kc dyer
kc dyer
Feb 02, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for sharing, John. So important to remember!

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