Ottawa·Audio

How the 1998 ice storm launched a local arborist's career

For Leilak Anderson, the January 1998 storm served as his introduction to a future career as an arborist.

Leilak Anderson's father ran a western Quebec tree removal company during the storm

The 1998 ice storm left thousands of people without power in western Quebec and eastern Ontario. For Leilak Anderson, it also launched his career as an arborist. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

Twenty years ago, an ice storm left thousands without power in western Quebec and eastern Ontario. 

Frozen trees fell on power lines. Cars were coated in thick layers of ice. People were left scrambling. 

But for Leilak Anderson, the January 1998 storm also served as his introduction to his future career as an arborist. 

"I remember it being a winter different than any other," said Anderson, whose father owned The Man with The Axe, an Outaouais tree removal company.

Many people in the Wakefield, Que., area depended on him for their post-storm cleanup.

"He has a scar on the end of his nose from falling ice, when he was just looking at a tree [during the storm]," Anderson recalled on CBC Radio's All in a Day.

"That scar on his nose reminds us all of how dangerous things were."

While Anderson didn't accompany his father on the cleanups, he does recall the stories from the ice storm his father told over the years.

Eventually, Anderson started up his own business. Listen below for more of his story. 


With files from All in a Day

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