Recovery slow for Ottawa's 'other' tornado victims

Residents of Ottawa's Greenboro neighbourhood are preparing to rebuild after what Environment Canada has confirmed was a tornado touched down Friday, damaging roofs, vehicles and backyards.

Friday's tornado had slowed by the time it reached Greenboro, but still caused heavy damage

Robert Ménard and Lyette Giroux stand in their Greenboro backyard, where their garden, shed and fence were destroyed by Friday's tornado. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Residents of Ottawa's Greenboro neighbourhood are picking up the pieces after what Environment Canada has confirmed was a tornado touched down Friday, damaging roofs, vehicles and backyards.

The neighbourhood was struck by the same twister that tore through Arlington Woods in the Hunt Club/Greenbank area, snapping trees and tearing apart roofs. By the time the tornado reached Greenboro it had weakened from an EF-2 to a EF-1, but it still caused widespread damage.

"Just from what I saw, I just had a gut feeling it was actually a tornado," Greenboro resident Robert Ménard said.

Ménard called to his wife, Lyette Giroux, to take cover in the basement. When the couple emerged, they were shocked by the damage.

"We had no more fence. I usually have a garden with flowers. We had the shed. We had a nice patio.... Everything is gone. We don't have anything in the backyard," Giroux said.

"It's hard to find the words exactly, but a good thing is at least we're both OK physically, and we have a house that's standing even though we have major repairs to be done."

Alain Meere's 14-year-old daughter was struck by flying debris during the storm, but she escaped without serious injury. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Hit by flying debris

Alain Meere's 14-year-old daughter was caught outside in the sudden storm.

"She was putting the bicycles in the back and by the time she wanted to go back in the front to get in the house she saw she couldn't go in, and at the same time she got hit with debris," he said.

"We were lucky that the neighbours in the back saw that and they called the ambulance for her, and she was fine."

The tornado also smashed windows in Meere's house and blew his new camper onto its side. 

On Sunday morning Meere helped his neighbours clear debris. 

"Others have really suffered the brunt. We're very lucky," he said.

Steven Matte stands next to his car, which was crushed when a 20-metre tree fell. Matte says he's been told by his insurer the damage won't be covered. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Slow rebuild

Steven Matte's fence was also destroyed, his roof and attic severely damaged and his car crushed when a 20-metre tree fell.

"God knows how many pounds that tree weighed. It just came right across, and [the car's] destroyed. Apparently, my insurance might not cover it," he said. 

Matte said the wait for contractors to patch his roof has been frustrating. 

"It's going to be a long road. I think it's going to be a few months before it's finally settled," he said.

On the bright side, Matte said the experience has brought neighbours together, including one who brought him a hot apple pie on the weekend.