Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Families spend Christmas in the dark

Parts of Ontario, Quebec and N.B. remain powerless after three days

  • Print
Free firewood is offered up by a roadside in Oakville, Ont., on Christmas Day. The branches fell from trees damaged during last weekend's ice storm.

RICHARD BUCHAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Free firewood is offered up by a roadside in Oakville, Ont., on Christmas Day. The branches fell from trees damaged during last weekend's ice storm.

TORONTO -- Tens of thousands of people in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick had no power in their homes Christmas as communities recovered from an ice storm that walloped much of Eastern Canada.

The weather system that hit on the weekend downed power lines, splintered trees and caused travel delays.

Hydro crews worked around the clock to restore power to homes that had been in the dark for three days, but utility companies said some might have to wait until the weekend to get their lights back on.

In Toronto -- where some 300,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm -- about 69,000 customers remained without electricity on Christmas Day.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said it "has been a very challenging four days," but the city is doing its best through the holidays to restore power to all homes as soon as possible.

Authorities have been urging those in homes with no power to make alternative arrangements for the holidays and to take advantage of warming centres being offered in many communities.

Ford said some 1,000 people sought refuge at the warming spots in Toronto Tuesday night. "That's the highest number we've had. It's gone from 500, to 750, to 1,000," Ford said.

"Hopefully that number will go down as the hydro is restored, but we're expecting more people tonight."

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said the "best guess" for reconnecting remaining customers is Friday, but he cautioned that could easily change depending on resources and the amount of felled tree branches and lines to repair.

Without power since early Saturday, east-end Toronto resident Deborah Coombs, along with her husband and seven-year-old son, finally left their freezing home on Tuesday for the comfort of a hotel room. They managed to take a small Christmas tree, which they tucked their gifts under.

"We're making the most of it. We're family and we're together and now we have a warm roof over our heads," she said, adding she intends to cook the turkey left behind in her fridge if it's still edible when power returns.

However, she said the dozen or so fish in their large tank died as the temperature at their house in the part of the city with the most outages dipped to 5 C.

"So now we have Christmas outside our house but we also have to explain to our son that all of our fish are gone," Coombs said. "I'm not sure when to tell him."

Officials warned people about the deadly risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning as some residents are reported to have used equipment designed for outdoor use -- such as gas-powered generators, charcoal stoves and barbecues -- inside their homes.

Toronto fire Chief Jim Sales said authorities had received 302 suspected carbon-monoxide calls since the storm hit. The fire department typically gets about 20 such calls a day.

Two children and two adults in east-end Toronto were taken to hospital to be treated for carbon-monoxide poisoning Wednesday morning after using a charcoal barbecue indoors.

And two people died of carbon-monoxide poisoning in Newcastle, Ont., east of Toronto, on Monday after trying to keep warm with a gas generator in a garage.

Meanwhile, Hydro One, which serves 1.3 million customers in Ontario communities that include Guelph, Peterborough and Walkerton, had about 15,000 customers still without power.

In Quebec, some 13,500 customers were without electricity, primarily in the Eastern Townships.

In New Brunswick, 30,000 customers were still in the dark. In Nova Scotia, all power to affected customers had been restored by Christmas Day.

 

-- The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Free firewood is offered up by a roadside in Oakville, Ont., Wednesday, Dec.25, 2013. The branches fell from trees damaged during last weekend's ice storm.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2013 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google