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The Other Story Behind the Storm in Collingwood This Week

Posted by Sherry Rioux on October 20, 2016


There’s nothing like a “weather event” to make a Canadian come alive.  We LOVE talking about it, don’t we?

You may have heard that we had a crazy storm in the region this week that uprooted trees, dumped them on top of cars, took a roof off a building, knocked the power out and left a big mess behind all in about ten minutes of bedlam.  When it happened, it was so loud that I thought an airplane was trying to land on the roof above my office.

Of course, it all happened late in the day as the sun was starting its’ trek into nightfall so the power failure made things interesting for about 4 hours or so.  It’s especially interesting when you are cooking dinner on the BBQ and run out of propane but that’s another story.  Then my phone started to run out of battery – how the heck to check for Twitter updates on what was happening?  So, we decided to drive around town ostensibly to charge my phone but at the same time, it gave us a look at our little town.


Entire streets were unpassable with giant trees and their limbs blocking the way.  Sirens were blaring and the lights of emergency vehicles were evident every few blocks.  We drove past the fire department and the full parking lot was proof that every one had been called in.  Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree with reports, pictures and updates from COLLUS (our utility provider), The Fire Chief and the OPP.


We were so impressed with the immediate response time and outstanding coordination of our emergency and utility services who must have been strained to their very limits.  Linesmen worked in the wet darkness, aid came in from outside area to assist with a suspected gas leak and everyone jumped to attention.  Kudo’s to them!  They are tops and it times like this that remind me of why they are called essential services.

The real story though is about the citizens of this town.  Everywhere we went, people were out in full force helping neighbours, clearing roads and sidewalks and generally doing what good neighbours do in this town.  I got a text from one of my clients who recently moved here from the U.S. I saw her husband out in shorts and rubber boots (quite a sight I have to say) with chainsaw in hand amongst neighbours on his new street. Her text to me later that day said it all:

“What an incredible community here – everyone out helping – within a few hours most of it was cleaned up and stacked – everyone was checking on each other, sharing flashlights and food – just magical.  Have I told you lately you found us the perfect home?”

To her I say, welcome to the best town in the country.

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