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Toronto mayor Rob Ford warned on Monday that it could still take up until after Christmas to restore power to every resident and said that the city was bringing in about 100 extra trucks from Canada and the United States to deal with the aftermath of the weekend’s ice storm.
“Unfortunately it’s going to get even busier tonight,” said Mr. Ford at a joint news conference with the chief executives of the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Hydro and other city officials.
By late afternoon, the TTC had restored the bulk of its subway service and Toronto Hydro said it has restored power at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which had been operating on power generators.
Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Vanessa Nero said that 195,000 customers in the city were without power late Monday afternoon, and 286,000 in the province. It’s totalling about $1-million a day in restoration costs, she said.
Although Toronto Hydro had reduced the number of power outages on Monday, its chief executive Anthony Haines said he was still planning for the worst.
“I’m not expecting at this point to have everything cleared up by Christmas Day,” Mr. Haines said at the news conference.
Power crews from Mississauga, Windsor, Michigan, Ottawa and Manitoba are due to start arriving on Tuesday.
Mr. Ford defended his decision not to declare a state of emergency, saying it was not needed as conditions were improving and said the city was working as “quickly as we can.”
“We can’t work any faster,” he said. “I feel sorry for the people who don’t have hydro. But what can I do? I can’t make a promise that it’s going to be on tomorrow when realistically it won’t be. We still have about 190,000 residents without power.”
Environment Canada has ended all of its weather-related warnings for Ontario. However, there are several freezing-rain warnings in effect on Monday across Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The forecast for Toronto calls for a 40-per-cent chance of flurries on Monday, followed by a 60-per-cent chance of flurries on Monday evening and Tuesday.
With no heat, no food and no hot water, Li Hua, 33, knew she didn’t want to spend the night at her home, located near Sheppard Avenue and Leslie Street, which had been powerless since Saturday night.
So on Sunday night Ms. Hua went to the Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre, a full-time neighbourhood community centre and part-time warming centre while Toronto remains largely in the dark.
She was served food and warm drinks by Red Cross volunteers, who have been working at the centre in the Flemingdon Park area around the clock. She also received a place to sleep – cots are spread out across the hardwood gymnasium floor, usually reserved for centre programming – and blankets to keep her warm.
“Everything is difficult,” Ms. Hua said about having no access to electricity at her home. “Here it’s good because you got hot water and things to eat.”
Red Cross volunteers said people can also take a shower and the centre will remain open as long as people need a place to go.
Parts of Atlantic Canada were experiencing freezing rain and some power outages on Monday morning. By midafternoon, New Brunswick Power said more than 21,000 customers were without power, with about 18,000 customers in Rothesay and St. Stephen experiencing electricity outages.
Travel was disrupted across the Maritimes because of slick roads, while several flights were delayed or cancelled at airports – mainly because of backlogs created by the severe weather that has also hit Quebec and Ontario.
Across Ontario, outside of the GTA, Hydro One reported 120,000 customers still without power on Monday morning and asked for patience as customers worked to restore to 9,200 customers in Brampton and more than 111,000 customers around Orillia, Belleville and Simcoe.
The outages are largely across the southern part of the province stretching from the shore of Lake St. Clair in the west to areas along the St. Lawrence River near Kingston in the east.
In York Region, PowerStream reported 29,000 customers still without power in Markham, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Vaughan and in other areas. Power for most customers was expected to be restored later Monday.
In Mississauga, Enersource reported 539 customers without electricity as of Monday morning. Twelve hours earlier, Enersource had reported 13,000 customers without power.
Horizon Utilities, which serves the Hamilton and St. Catharines area, reported Monday morning that 3,000 customers remain without power, a figure that is down from as high as 30,000 on Sunday.
At least one municipality, the Ontario township of Woolwich, had declared a state of emergency as of Sunday evening.
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