Tory checks in on Toronto Islands, encourages Torontonians to visit this weekend
Island resident says the flooding brought together the community
Mayor John Tory checked in with island residents Thursday morning and issued an "enthusiastic invitation" to the rest of the city to visit the Toronto Islands this weekend.
"It's going to be a fantastic weekend, these businesses are having a hard time, they've lost a lot of business and I can tell you that since the park has reopened and the ferry service resumed, they haven't made the numbers that they were making on an average weekend in August or September of last year," he said.
Think about visiting the Toronto Islands this weekend to support businesses and to enjoy this special place.—@JohnTory
Much of the Toronto Islands was closed for most of summer due to significant rainfall causing heavy flooding, warped docks, washed-out walking paths and receding shorelines.
Bill Freeman lives on Ward's Island and has been an island resident for 30 years. He says he feels fortunate that his home remains in good shape after the summer of heavy rains and flooding.
"We had a lot of help from the city, they came in and they put these big sandbags that really protected our house," he said.
Freeman said the flooding ultimately brought island residents together.
"The islanders have always worked together, we're a community that's been threatened in different ways and we've always helped each other and stayed together," he said. "That's one of the advantages of living here is you can rely on your neighbours and they can rely on you."
Tory said he also wanted to thank the workers who helped protect the island and clean it up in the aftermath of the flooding.
"They had to be deployed in emergency circumstances but I think it prevented a lot more damage from being done, to the island and of course to the residents," he said.
City staff have started to remove 45,000 sandbags, though Tory says some will remain where they are because it's unclear how high the water will be next year.
With files from Nicole Martin