Montreal·Photos

Beloved Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Park devastated by strong winds

Dozens of trees and branches were downed by strong winds during Tuesday's thunderstorm.

Dozens of trees, branches downed by strong winds during thunderstorm

City crews have already started clearing fallen branches in the N.D.G area. (Etienne Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

Winds raging at more than 110 kilometres per hour took down dozens of trees in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Park Tuesday afternoon.

"I'm on the eighth floor of a building and I saw a tree fly by my window," said Notre-Dame-de-Grâce resident Carolyn Seguin.

The park, located at the corner of Girouard Avenue and Sherbrooke Street West, is locally known as Girouard Park.

Girouard Park was also heavily affected by the storm. (Etienne Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

According to Environment Canada, the storm was likely the result of a microburst that only lasted a matter of minutes.

City data shows that the park is home to more than 100 trees, many of them Silver Maples, Norway Maples and Red Oaks.

The city keeps data on public trees, including what species they are and how large they are. (www.quebio.ca)

There are 10 trees with a diametre measuring above one metre. The data doesn't specify how old the trees are. It's not yet clear how many trees have been toppled. Benches and picnic tables were also damaged.

"This is just devastating to see all these old trees," said Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, who stopped by and offered borough mayor Russell Copeman help from the provincial government, if needed. 

Weil represents the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce riding.

It's hard to count how many trees have been toppled. (Sylvain Charest/CBC)

Peter McQueen, NDG city councillor, told CBC's Homerun that emergency crews and city workers are on the ground trying to clean up the debris.

"It's that old part of NDG where the trees are big and old and have a lot of difficulty in a situation like this."

McQueen said that the park is the main site for NDG Arts Week and that it would remain to be seen how the fallen trees would affect the programming.

While some residents pegged the extent of the damage to the park's trees on a possible lack of maintenance, Copeman said it was too early to tell if maintenance was the issue. He said the weather event was exceptional. 

"I'm absolutely not going to get involved in what tree came down where, under what circumstances," he said. "Our focus is cleaning up, making sure that people are safe, and we'll do a post-mortem to see if we can do better in the future."

In April, part of the park was officially inaugurated as Place de Vimy as part of a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.

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