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Remembering the Cambridge Flood of 19743 min read

Jun 1, 2023 3 min

Remembering the Cambridge Flood of 19743 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you remember the big flood that happened in Cambridge in 1974? Did you hear about it from family? Or experience it yourself?

On May 17, 1974 the Grand River spilled over its banks and poured into downtown Cambridge. The spring melt and weeks of rainy weather created perhaps the worst flood in our local history. Water levels rose more than five metres! This disaster caused $34 million damage, but the community came together for the rescue and cleanup. Waterloo Regional Police Service helped people evacuate. The Region of Waterloo arranged emergency shelter, chlorinated the water and tested it daily, because Cambridge was under a boil water advisory.

The Region’s emergency planning team was only one person at the time. He issued bulletins and broadcast updates, provided supplies to shelters, food to volunteers, and helped with rescues. Today we’ve expanded the Emergency Management team to be ready for what comes. Flooding is still the top hazard in Waterloo Region. Over the decades, we have improved how we manage river flows to prevent extreme flooding.

Did you know? It’s wise to think ahead and create an emergency plan for yourself and your family. The Region of Waterloo has resources to help on our Alert Waterloo Region site. Learn about potential local hazards, how you can prepare, and how our Emergency Alert system can give you important information on large-scale power outages, floods and more.

(Photos courtesy of the City of Cambridge Archives)

We shared the story of the 1974 Cambridge flood on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This natural disaster and how our community responded is just one of 50 Region of Waterloo milestones that we’re highlighting this year.

Why? Because our community reached an important anniversary in 2023 – we turned 50! In 1973, our current Region of Waterloo municipality was formed. The anniversary is a chance to look back at where we’ve come from, celebrate how far we’ve come, and look ahead to where we’re going.

Check out these other great milestone stories from recent weeks:

  • Region of Waterloo creates a new Paramedic Services in 2000 to serve the entire community (read it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram)
  • Region launches ambitious new Conservation By-law in 2006 to help save our precious water resources (read it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram)