Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.


Ice storm plunges Canadians into darkness and travel chaos (PHOTOS)

Published time: December 23, 2013 02:30
Edited time: December 23, 2013 03:44
A snow plow cleans the sidewalk during a snowstorm in Quebec City December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

A snow plow cleans the sidewalk during a snowstorm in Quebec City December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

Thousands across Ontario and Quebec provinces in Canada may have to spend Christmas by candlelight. Over 300,000 homes have been left without power after a winter storm swept through eastern Canada damaging power lines and causing mayhem for travelers.

Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, has been one of the worst hit by the bad weather with Toronto Hydro reporting that around 264,000 customers are without electricity. The company warns it might take as long as 72 hours to restore service.

“While the utility hopes to have everyone restored by Wednesday, it is asking customers to make alternate arrangements, if possible,”
the company announced in a press release asking customers to “share the power.”

At a press briefing on Sunday morning, Toronto Hydro Chief Executive Officer Anthony Haines said; “This is truly one of the worst ice storms we’ve seen here in Ontario,” telling the journalist that East General and Sunnybrook hospitals are operating on emergency generators.

People walk in the old town during a snowstorm in Quebec City December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

“The top priority now is the hospitals,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said in a televised address, claiming it’s too early to declare a state of emergency in the city.

“If it gets really bad in the next 24 hours we could have a state of emergency but I don’t want to say that right now,” he said. “We’re not in that situation quite yet.”

Meanwhile almost a quarter of all flights at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, over 300 flights, were cancelled due to Sunday’s ice storm. Cancellations and delays were also witnessed across the eastern part of the country including Trudeau, Ottawa, Fredericton, Saint John, Halifax and St. John's airports.

A pedestrian walks on the Terrasse Dufferin during a snowstorm in Quebec City December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

Air Canada announced a fee waiver to allow passengers to change flights. Via Rail, the country’s passenger rail service, said it was not expecting any cancellations, though delays were possible.

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced it will close some 300 child care centers in the city on Monday.

Ontario’s Premier Minister, Kathleen Wynne stated that icy roads were delaying crews from reaching some areas in the province.

“Each community seems to have been affected quite uniquely,” she said. “Christmas is just a few days away and we’re doing everything we can to restore power and ensure safety,” Wynne said.

Cars drive by a fallen tree limb hanging from a power line following an ice storm in Toronto, December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

Police in the meantime have urged residents to stay indoors, as roads were icy and slick Sunday, with several centimetres of accumulation even on the country’s highways.

“Driving conditions are hazardous. This is made worse by the fact that many traffic lights aren’t working. Please do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary,” police said in a statement.

Inflatable Santa Claus decorations, one still inflated and another deflated due to a power outage, are pictured after an ice storm hit Toronto, December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger)

In Quebec, over 50,000 Hydro-Quebec customers are without power, as the storm and the terrible road conditions left at least six killed on Saturday.

“The order of the day is to stay indoors,” said Caroline Larose with Transport Quebec. “All of (southern) Quebec’s road network is covered in snow.”

The Environment Canada forecasts freezing drizzle with temperatures of around -7C on Monday. The outlook for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is sunny both days, with a high of -12C.

A woman walks along a path cleared in the snow while crossing a street in Ottawa December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

Comments (10)


Clifford Calladine 06.01.2014 12:45

we in the uk will be hit by winter storms like you have in north america weve had a taster in the uk over the past 7years of what to expect we have coming during the winters to come the sun is going into a low solar minimum cycle anf with fewer if any sun spots its expected to have huge effects on the climate in the uk and europe and it will effect the jetstream causing the type of weather that you in the usa and canada are facing at this moment so you have our sympatheys and good look in the winter storms take care


aikeila 23.12.2013 22:00

Ruben Boyd 23.12.2013 08:47

And nobody thinks : Lets make power lines beneath the ground like most European countries.


Fo llow the money - it's more expensive to bury them than to repair them a couple of times a year...


Bryan Persaud 23.12.2013 20:19

Uhhh... Trudeau is not a city name... it's the name of a previous prime minister... and maybe they changed the International Airport name again. This is Canada, people.. we get winter here.

View all comments (10)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or



Show password


or Register

Request a new password


or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:


or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile



New password

Retype new password

Current password



Follow us