06/01/2013 01:05 EDT | Updated 06/01/2013 01:24 EDT

Alberta Disasters: The Worst Natural And Man-Made Disasters In The Province's History


It was a somber message the Insurance Bureau of Canada delivered in Calgary this week.

Changing weather patterns in Canada mean things are going to get rougher not better in the natural disasters front. The news does not bode well for Alberta.

Click here to see Alberta's worst disasters

The province already has an intimate history with disasters - natural and man-made - and last year accounted for the majority of the insurance claims in the entire country.

And still, IBC president Don Forgeron said brace up. It's going to get worse... a lot worse.

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Alberta is a young province and only accounts for one tenth of the Canadian population but by virtue of being downwind of the Rockies, a long history of mining and vast, open prairie, it is a veritable breeding ground for disaster.

Hundreds of homes were shredded or flattened by a tornado that ripped through Edmonton in 1987. Dozens were killed, hundreds injured.

A wildfire that was allowed to burn through millions of Alberta acres in 1950 was responsible for what became known as the "Great Smoke Pall." The fire burned so fiercely, quickly and for so long that it created a dark mantle of smoke that floated to high in the atmosphere that it turned day to night as far as the eastern sea board and that was visible as far as western Europe. But what made it such a phenomenon was that because of its altitude, there were none of the usual characteristics of a smoke cloud. There was no ground-level haze and there was no smokey smell or irritated eyes, only a sudden darkening of entire city skies.

There's also the dust bowl of the Dirty Thirties, which sent thousands fleeing the province and which, to a great degree, to this day shape Alberta's socio-economic and political consciousness.

Then there's Frank Slide, a disaster like none other in Canadian history.

Click through the slideshow below for the worst disasters in Alberta's history.

Photo gallery Alberta Disasters See Gallery