Temagami Legion hosts travellers stranded by winter storm

A winter storm caused a lot of havoc on Wednesday, but northerners overcame the obstacles with a little help from their friends.
The Royal Canadian Legion in Temagami hosted about 20 travellers stranded when Highway 11 was closed due to stormy weather and poor driving conditions. (Marko Roy/Radio-Canada)

It was a very messy Wednesday, weather-wise. 

Yesterday, thanks to a Colorado low roaring through northeastern Ontario, roads were closed, flights were cancelled, and the power went out for thousands of customers.

But even with all that chaos, there were a couple of bright moments, like what happened at the Royal Canadian Legion in Temagami.

Sue Daneault is the organization's secretary.

She says the Legion has a plan for whenever Highway 11 is closed. 

"It's become kind of a reccurring thing that the highway's closed when there's a storm," said Daneault. 

So the Legion offers a safe, warm place -- complete with coffee and cookies - -for travellers who are stuck on the road. 

Last night, some volunteers opened the Legion for about 20 people who were stranded.

"It's a warm place, they can spend time here rather than sit in their car, because from about 9 o'clock on, there's nothing open in Temagami," said Daneault.

 "The restaurants are closed - -they might stay open a bit longer -- so they have nowhere to go except if somebody opens up. Or they sit in their car," she added. 

Daneault said some travellers stayed at the Legion last night until at least 11 p.m. when Highway 11 reopened. 

Sudbury arborist says heavy wet snow coupled with strong winds are bound to do some damage to trees. (Photo by Melody Magaton)

Some trees and shrubs were inevitable casualties of yesterday's storm.

Frank Langemann runs Frank's Family Tree Service in Sudbury.

By 7 a.m. today he'd already had a dozen calls and expected quite a few more as the day went on.

"There's quite a bit of weight on the trees, and with the wind last night, there's definitely going to be some damage," said Langemann.

Langemann says some trees snap while others don't because of the different amounts of water they hold.

His advice if you have snapped branches or a fallen tree? Call a professional. 

"The last thing you want to do is get up on a ladder and start cutting branches," said Langemann.

"It's probably the most dangerous thing you can do," he warned.

Jeremy Reinke from Goulais River said he had no snow in his yard when the storm started but when he got home at 7 o'clock last night, he couldn't drive his 4 x 4 truck into the driveway.

"The snow was about a foot-and-a-half where it had drifted -- that very, very  heavy snow that you can't just drive through," he said.

While Reinke was struggling with his snowblowe r-- that ran out of gas -- a Good Samaritan in a big loader came by.

The man cleared Reinke's driveway in about five minutes -- saving him what he estimated would be three hours of work, and then went on to clean every driveway on the street.

"I just wanted to thank him for his kindness and generosity because he not only did my driveway but he did, as far as I could see, every driveway on my entire street," said Reinke.

"I think he was probably out all night just giving a helping hand to everybody."


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