Southwestern Ontario is beautiful by most anyone’s standards. It holds some of Canada’s most densely populated cities, like Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor and London. It also lays claim to scenic unspoiled forests, rich farmlands, and loads of freshwater lakes and rivers. Tourist attractions dot the map, like Niagara Falls, Stratford, as well as plenty of beach towns like Sauble Beach, Port Stanley, Port Burwell and Grand Bend. All of these places are blessed by the presence of one of the wonders of our world – the Great Lakes. Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron lap on our doorstep. They are a source of shipping, fishing and leisure, but also an influencer of our weather patterns. Surrounded by these vast bodies of water, we get to enjoy its effects; cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers. This time of year, the hot days are perfect for relaxing beach days, but the lakes also serve up a deadly mix of thunderstorms, hail, and even a fair share of tornadoes.
In 2011, Goderich sadly lay in the path of an F3 twister. The damage was extensive. The city lost businesses, homes, plus an awful lot of trees. It was a major blow to the “Prettiest Town in Canada”. As Goderich is located approximately 1 1/2 hours from London, Ontario, CLC Tree Services jumped in to help. A crew was sent and people who struggled to make sense of the devastation welcomed their assistance. Over two days, and with some much-needed help from Samaritan’s purse, CLC cleaned up areas which still posed a threat to desperate homeowners. It was the least that Curt McCallum and his company felt that they could do.
On July 27th, 2014 the Great Lakes served up another whopper of a storm. Lightning flashed, whipping winds whirled, rain pounded, and hail fell before the storm blew itself out. That wasn’t the worst of it though. The next morning it was confirmed that an EF1 tornado had touched down in Grand Bend. Winds were estimated to have been between 155-175 km/hr. Damages were again widespread. Pictures of trees downed surfaced early the next day. In a community of 2,000 people, which swells to closer to 50,000 in the popular summer months, it is a wonder that no one was killed. In fact, aside from the extensive damages, only one injury was reported when a tree fell on a woman. The dollar figures are still adding up though and Grand Bend has made the decision to apply for disaster relief.
Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Grand Bend is only one hour from London. Many people escape the city to soak up the sun on Grand Bend’s beach, or enjoy a drink at one of the many patios there. The sandy beach draws people from miles around with its lure.
Unfortunately, it was also a big reason for its undoing. As one tree toppled into another, the sandy soil provided little to anchor them. It was like a giant game of dominoes, where the town’s tree canopy lost. It is estimated that approximately 8,000 trees have toppled. As far as the forest goes, comparatively this disaster is far worse than Goderich in CLC’s eyes.
When CLC Tree Services heard that a tornado had wreaked havoc at the beloved beach town, they hit the road once more. Storm cleanup was needed and they sent every man they could to help. A crew of 7 men worked on one front yard alone for two days. It isn’t pretty. They have already been there for 10 days, but sadly it looks like the cleanup won’t be done any time soon.
CLC Tree Services has stepped in to help communities in need in the past and is proud to do it again. Our prayers are with all the people affected by this tragedy and our services are at the ready. May the recovery at Grand Bend be swift.