For some Ottawa businesses, tornado recovery could take months

Many businesses on Colonnade Road in Ottawa found themselves in the direct path of Friday's tornado, which tore the roofs from buildings and caused widespread water damage.

Owners struggling to replace roofs before anticipated rain on Tuesday

Mini Golf Gardens on Colonnade Road was badly damaged by Friday's tornado, forcing an early end to the season. (Leah Hansen/CBC News)

Many businesses on Colonnade Road in Ottawa found themselves in the direct path of Friday's tornado, which tore roofs from buildings and caused widespread water damage.

For some, the damage could take months to repair. For others, the destruction hit closer to home: the storm took out some family businesses that were built from the ground up.

On the buildings that have lost roofs, crews worked quickly over the weekend to make repairs before anticipated rainfall hits on Tuesday and causes further damage.

Ed and Anne Jansen, Owners, Mini Golf Gardens

The tornado devastated Ed and Anne Jansen's mini golf course, which they've owned for 20 years. (Leah Hansen/CBC)

For Ed Jansen and his wife Anne, the storm's effect was personal.

The tornado ripped their property apart and tore up mature trees that they planted themselves when they first built the course 20 years ago.

A shed at Mini Golf Gardens was destroyed by the storm. (Raphael Tremblay/CBC)

"It's a lot of hard work and it really is your baby, building it from nothing," he said. "To see it gone in 45 seconds, that's tough."

The tornado has cut their season short, Jansen said. The course usually can stay open until sometime in October; cleanup likely won't be done in time for the Jansens to reopen this year.

They've also had to cancel several upcoming events that were set to happen on their course, including a gathering for 70 people this Friday.

Jansen said people in the neighbourhood have reached out to offer help.

"It's surprising how much support and words of encouragement we get," he said. "It's very nice."

Chris Muldoon, director of training and programs, Fiit House

Chris Muldoon was running a fitness class on Friday when the tornado hit the gym. (Raphael Tremblay/CBC)

Muldoon was running a fitness class at Fiit House on Colonnade Road when the tornado hit the building. He said he ushered people into the washrooms for safety.

The storm passed quickly and the damage seemed minimal at first — until Muldoon and his class walked outside. 

Much of the insulation and the shingles on the building's roof had blown off, leaving just a thin layer of steel covering the interior. Because of that, the rain caused massive water damage, Muldoon said.

The gym's electrical system was damaged and the hardwood flood is ruined, he said. 

"Financially, it's probably well over $200,000 in terms of damage that we're looking at," he said. "We'll know exact numbers once insurance comes in and reviews everything."

Steven Kimmel, president, Westboro Flooring and Decor

Steven Kimmel, president of Westboro Floors and Decor, said he's lost more than $400,000 of inventory due to water damage. (Leah Hansen/CBC)

The warehouse for Westboro Flooring is located in the same building as Fiit House. Kimmel said the water damage destroyed much of his inventory.

Prior to the storm, the warehouse was climate-controlled to protect the hardwood flooring from warping. As of Monday, the loss amounted to around $400,000, Kimmel said.

By the time everything is accounted for, he said the loss likely will exceed $500,000.

Paul Guindon, CEO, Commissionaires Ottawa

Paul Guindon said the priority now is making sure the roof can withstand rain that's expected to come on Tuesday. (Raphael Tremblay/CBC)

The storm completely destroyed two storage sheds behind the Commissionaires' main building and damaged the roof of the building as well, scattering debris across the parking lot.

Despite the damage, Guindon said Commissionaires Ottawa has been fortunate. None of its employees were injured, and the damage isn't anywhere near as extensive as the destruction seen in some of Ottawa's residential areas.

Overall, Guindon is taking everything in stride.

"Life is life," he said. "You just have to regroup and prioritize what needs to be done so you're back on your feet as quickly as possible."