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Remembering the Victoria Day flood of 1912

On the May long weekend in 1912, there were fewer yard sales and homeowners gardening, and a lot more water.

107 years ago …

Sometimes a story is just meant to be. The series of Huron Institute photographs that museum staff sat down to write about document a timely Collingwood anniversary – The Victoria Day Flood of 1912.

Sixteen photographs compose the series, some documenting the day of the flood (May 24, 1912) and others the aftermath. Four photographs are featured in today’s post. Those of the aftermath will appear in next week’s feature.

The Victoria Day Flood photographs are rather unique as they showcase local streetscapes and residents in the course of their day. Few adults appear in the photographs. Instead, groups of children appear playing in the flood waters.

Photograph number 148 was taken at the intersection of Birch and Second Streets, looking north towards First Street. An unidentified boy is standing on a wooden fence on the photograph’s right side.

Photograph 150 is believed to be the only known photograph of Market Lane in the Collingwood Museum’s collection. Market Lane runs between St. Paul and Ste. Marie Streets. Eight unidentified children pose here, enjoying the new opportunity for play that the flood provided.

Next, an unidentified man, a dog, and three children stand near the intersection of Third and Birch Streets in Photograph 164. Three women appear in the background behind a property fence line, keeping a safe distance from the flooded street.

Finally, Photograph 165 features three children on Minnesota Street. The exact location is unknown.

Local news outlets reported on the flood’s damage, but did not identify the flood’s cause.

The Collingwood Bulletin announced, “Victoria Day Floods Did Greatest Damage in Thirty Years – Roads Washed Out and Bridges Destroyed”. Accounts of damaged property covered most of the town, including as far south as the corner of Hurontario and Campbell Streets. Stayed tuned for next week’s follow-up article to learn more about the resulting damage.

If you have a story to share about today’s featured photographs, please contact museum staff at [email protected].

Huron Institute 148, 150, 164, 165; Collingwood Museum Collection X970.794.1, X969.594.1, X970.783.1, X970.789.1

Remember This is a weekly series of historic photographs submitted by the Collingwood Museum to These photographs were originally collected and documented by the Huron Institute in an historical catalogue entitled Huron Institute Paper and Records: Volume III. Much of Collingwood’s early history has been preserved due to the dedication and foresight of the early museum’s founders, namely its secretary-curator David Williams, upon its establishment in 1904.