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Forty Years Ago This Week

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

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

In the early hours of Friday, February 11, 1983, a build-up of water, mud, fallen trees and earth broke loose from the top of Alberta Creek, and cascaded down through the Village of Lions Bay.

The landslide roared through homes, and carried away the trailer parked beside the home of Councillor Mike Wade. Wade's two sons, sleeping in the trailer were killed. His daughter Shannon was trapped in a crushed section of the family basement. She was released after a tense, two hour effort to chainsaw through the debris by Lions Bay Fire personnel, led by Fire Chief Gord Prescott.

David Michael Wade had been nineteen years old, and his younger brother Stephen Thomas Wade was eighteen at the time of their deaths. At least five other village residents were injured.

The landslide swept away the Alberta Creek bridge, effectively splitting the village in two, and more than sixty residents were forced to flee their homes in the aftermath. The village mayor at the time, Doug Pollock, said that three homes had been totally destroyed, and many others were damaged. At least three roads were washed out, and because of the loss of the bridge, a section of Highway 99 was totally destroyed.

The Watershed is commemorating this stark anniversary by revisiting news stories that were written at the time. Former Lions Bay Mayor Douglas Miller saved his copy of The Vancouver Sun, published a few days after the tragedy, and has generously shared this resource with our readers. Site members of The Watershed can click through HERE to see a clearer copy of the front page, and HERE for a second scan of the accompanying articles written about the tragedy.

The Watershed welcomes comments from readers and memories from any residents of the village who may have been here at the time. Please reach out to

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