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Toronto's mayor says just 725 customers left without power after ice storm

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TORONTO - A few hundred Toronto customers who remain without power more than a week after a fierce ice storm hit Central and Eastern Canada can expect to have it fully restored by the end of the day, Mayor Rob Ford said Monday.

The number of those without power in the city has shrunk to 725 from about 300,000 customers at the height of outages.

Ford said most other services, including fire, police and emergency medical services, were back to normal Monday, and he praised hydro crews and city staff who pitched in to help over the past nine days.

"We have never had a storm like this in Toronto's history, and hopefully, we'll never have to do this again," Ford said.

"We will have the 725 finished today for sure," he added.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said it has been "a long haul" and became emotional as he thanked his workers for what they've done.

"I think it's now time to thank our employees who have worked ... around the clock. We're all tired but we never stopped," he said.

Elsewhere in Ontario, power is still out for about 1,500 homes and businesses.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said more private-sector donations had been secured to help compensate those forced to throw out food during what she called an "unprecedented storm."

Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro and Sobeys chipped in $25,000 each in gift cards, following a similar donation announced Sunday by Loblaw Co. Another business, Coppas Fresh Market, gave $5,000 in gift cards.

The province has pledged to match donations up to a maximum of $100,000.

Wynne stressed the gift cards — which can be picked up at Ontario Works offices in Toronto starting Tuesday — are meant for people who can't afford to replace the spoiled food.

Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, forecasters have lifted weather warnings, except for a wind chill warning that remains in effect for the northern part of the province. NB Power says 3,700 customers have yet to be reconnected.

Additional line and tree-trimming crews from the other Maritime provinces, Quebec and the United States are lending a hand in New Brunswick. Hydro Quebec says about 1,200 customers are still without electricity.

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