People walk past debris in a Gatineau, Que. neighbourhood on Saturday, September 22, 2018. A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Luckily MP Richard Cannings’ Ottawa residence wasn’t in the swath of destruction carved out by a trio of tornadoes that touched down Friday in Ottawa.

However, like a quarter of a million other people in the region, the member for South Okanagan-West Kootenay was without power and water at his apartment for much of the weekend.

“I just finally got my hot water back this morning so I’m happy,” said Cannings in a telephone interview Monday. “The tornadoes were quite a ways away from me, maybe a half-hour drive but the actual power outages were much more widespread. Most of downtown Ottawa and everything out west was impacted and there was no power on Parliament Hill all weekend.

“It was a bit of a reminder about how close to not having all the modern conveniences was when I had to cycle for a couple of kilometres to be able to go to the bathroom. It’s one thing when you’re out in the boonies but when you’re downtown in a major city looking for a place to go to the bathroom or find some power or find a coffee or anything like that and you have thousands of people doing the same it can be quite disruptive.”

When the storm hit Friday, Cannings was actually at a function at the glass encased TwentyTwo ballroom on the 22nd floor of the Westin Ottawa hotel.

Related: Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

“We have this new phone warning system so my phone went off with this big alert so we knew this was going to be a big storm,” he recalled. “We had a spectacular view of the storm, although we couldn’t see the details of the tornadoes. It was a big storm, it came through and belted us with slashing rain for half an hour, just sort of blackness but I was inside and didn’t see the full force of it.”

After the worst had passed he walked home to his apartment just over a mile away to find the water and power not working.

On Saturday, he headed downtown where there was a number of commercial operations that still had power and where others like himself were congregating.

“It was one of these things where you actually talk to the people on the elevator, talk to people on the street,” said Cannings. “So as they say it’s something that brings the community together. The businesses that had power were very co-operative.

Related: Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

“I spent a lot of Saturday in the lobby of the Lord Elgin Hotel. It was a ways away from me but it was a big hotel that had power and I could plug my phones in.”

He added the attached Starbucks had a line up out the door for much of the day. One employee he talked to had been there from 6 a.m. and was still at work at 6 p.m.

After power and water were returned he planned Sunday to have a long hot shower to get ready for Monday.

“It was then I realized there was no hot water so I had to boil water and pour it into the tub and have a bath,” he said with a laugh. “Not having power is one thing, not having water is much more of a problem.”

Related: Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

As of Monday morning there were still several thousand people without power and clean up was continuing. Schools and a number of government offices were also closed for the day.

At its height two of the massive twisters, touched down about 90 minutes apart, the first hitting about 5 p.m. EST. ripped apart homes, uprooted trees and flattened barns cutting a trail of destruction about a kilometre wide and 40 kilometres long.

Ranked as an E/F3 tornado, winds reached speeds of 260 kilometres and hour.

There were no reported deaths however nearly 20 people were taken to hospital and hundreds of homes were evacuated.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter

 

Dark clouds over the Parliament buildings after two tornadoes blew through the Ottawa area Friday. Submitted photo

Just Posted

Site where rockslide occurred along Malahat is too narrow for rock blasting or drilling: Emcon

‘Rockfalls are inevitable, so we try to increase our response times,’ says representative

Victoria woman reunited with lost family photos dating back to 1970s

‘You can watch their family grow up in these photos,’ says woman who found the box of forgotten photos

Fire at BC Hydro substation extinguished quickly

The fire was contained to one piece of equipment

Cirque du Soleil brings dazzling ice show Axel to Victoria this spring

Axel includes acrobatics, ice skating, live music and more

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperate breeding program

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Most Read