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Christina de Jong and her children Simon, 18, and Ella, 14, will be spending Christmas away from her Scarborough, Ont., home this year. (FRED LUM/The Globe and Mail)
Christina de Jong and her children Simon, 18, and Ella, 14, will be spending Christmas away from her Scarborough, Ont., home this year. (FRED LUM/The Globe and Mail)

‘It brought my family closer:’ Canadians tell their storm stories Add to ...

I learned many things over the past 30 hours [without power]. Even when marooned in the country, kind strangers will reach out to help. I am too dependent on and unappreciative of power. I think it is telling that one of my first thoughts, following a fret over food, was “how am I going to work?”

I am not a country girl. Stuck in the country alone, the ice storm brought to light my limitations and city-girl outlook. Faced with several trees down in my yard, including across my driveway, I was not quite sure what to do.

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As luck would have it, a kind neighbour was able to bring his tractor by to clear up some of the mess (luckily, the trees had not felled any wires). For two hours, we worked together (okay, he did most of the work) to remove the tree from the driveway and take some precautionary measures with remaining heavily iced trees. He and his wife also welcomed me into their home and charged my phone and laptop for me, while we chatted and played Trouble with their children.

If it weren’t for these lovely people, I would have felt very alone yesterday.

Andrea La Marre

Guelph, Ont.

 

A pleasant surprise. A neighbour was already hosting a Christmas dinner on Sunday night. She had much of it prepared already and decided to follow through regardless. She invited our family and another neighbour (recently widowed) over for dinner. It was a real Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, not canned stuff or cold cuts given the circumstances. She used her BBQ outside for the turkey, chafing dishes, and had a propane cooker to prepare other food. The table was elegantly set with place markers, napkins, and we had dinner by candlelight and a fireplace crackling in the background; she even had Christmas gifts for our kids.

It was truly an uplifting bright spot in this whole experience. Our neighbour is a real “get things done” type of person. She had her Christmas lights up before she had raked up her fall leaves. Everyone said, if anybody can do, Karen certainly can.

I joked with her that she really outdid herself this Christmas.

Angelina Young

Scarborough

 

Last night was kind of fun because nobody had any power for cellphones, so for the first time 10 people had to sit in a room and talk. We were all just sitting there and it’s like ‘Oh, look at us, we actually have to talk and laugh and entertain each other.’ No one’s on their cellphone, no one’s on their laptop, there’s no TV – and it was kind of fun.

We were having a discussion about how to deal with Christmas, how we’re still going to get everyone fed and warm. We’ll make it work.

Everyone’s checking in on everyone. Everyone’s looking after each other.

Tara King-Cohen

Toronto

 

I live in the Scarborough Bluffs, a neighbourhood hit hard by the ice storm. After lining up at two gas stations last night in an effort to get gas – an undertaking that took a couple of hours – my kids and I drove to the west side of town to stay at my aunt’s. My sister, who is also without power, will come here tonight with her three boys. My mum will come in by bus tomorrow and join us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Nothing stops Christmas.

We felt very sad to leave our Christmas-ified house. But we will be lucky to go home again. Some in this world (thinking of Syria for example) are not so lucky.

Christina de Jong

Scarborough, Ont.

 

The ice storm affected us in a good and bad way. Bad way because we did not have any power in the house and the fact that we had tree branches fall on our Internet cable. It was dangerously slippery outside. Good way in that it brought my family closer.

I told my kids that this is the meaning of what Christmas is all about, family being close together and knowing that you’re there for them in time of need.

Ian Goulbourne

Toronto

 

We all have to help each other here. There are so many trees down, and yesterday with the ice crashing down, we all got together to help clear out debris. The problem was that we realized if we had to get out, such as to go get fuel, we couldn’t. So we get together, play cards, and share the vino.

Scott Farlinger

Elora, Ont.

 

A number of neighbours helped me cut the broken branches and lift them off the downed hydro line so we could get the cars out of the driveway so that no damage would be done. I did likewise with my neighbours.

 

Ian Beverley

Toronto

Wearing lots of clothes and heavy blankets for sleeping. Temperature in the house is down to 9 degrees, the fireplace provides a bit of warmth but not much. I have nothing but admiration for our ancestors who didn’t have central heating. ... hoping to have the power back on for Christmas. My neighbours woke me up early Sunday to move my car, which was lucky because a tree fell on my driveway a few hours later. They then moved said tree for me.

Kerry Knoll

Toronto

We haven’t had heat for a couple days, so I’m here [at my City Hall office] with the kids and the dog and I’m able to stay on top of updates and get news out to residents.

Sunday night, we slept at home even with no power and then waking up this morning, the house was really cold, so we decided to spend some of the day here.

We had some lunch and I responded to some calls and e-mails. We tried to take the dog for a walk and those kinds of things, so we’ve just been hanging out as I do a bit of work. It’s just too cold to be at home for them.

We were hoping to do some cooking and wrapping [at home] and so we’ll have to figure out that. We’ll have to make sure Santa knows where we are because I don’t know where we’re going to be on Christmas morning … it’s kind of up in the air.

Josh Colle

Toronto city councillor

 

We had plans for Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day and Boxing Day here with three different separate groups of people. All three of those plans have been changed. Christmas Eve we’ll go to my daughter’s in the city and then Christmas Day we’re going to go to my son’s wife’s family in Grimsby. And then Boxing Day we’re going to go to Belleville.

I’m not expecting [the power] to come back soon. I was going to wait, but it involves so many different people that we thought, let’s just make the plans.

Jane Palmer

Toronto

 

We lost power to our house 8 a.m. Sunday and as of 12 p.m. decided to abandon ship when the temperature outside began to drop. The last time we were affected like this was last July, when the massive rains caused a power outage for four to five days in the midst of the heat wave. This time it is on the second day of winter. Bah humbug! We checked on both of our neighbours, dropping off Christmas cards at the same time.

Matt Bourne

Toronto

 

Thank you to the kind person who left a thermos of hot water and two filled with soup at our front door. Much appreciated!!! #IceStorm2013

Matthew Cunnington

Georgetown, Ont., via Twitter

 

Thank you to the good samaritan directing traffic at Brimley and Ellesmere.

Matt Small

Toronto, via Twitter

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