Toronto sending urban forestry crews, trucks to Winnipeg to help with storm cleanup

Twenty-five urban forestry staff from Toronto are going to Winnipeg to help the Prairie city clean up after damage to thousands of trees from a recent major snowstorm.

25 urban forestry staff, 13 vehicles due in Winnipeg on Tuesday

An aerial view of the urban forestry crews and trucks that Toronto is sending to Winnipeg in the aftermath of a recent major snowstorm that battered the Prairie city. (City of Toronto/Twitter)

Twenty-five urban forestry staff people from Toronto are going to Winnipeg to help the Prairie city clean up after damage to thousands of trees from a recent major snowstorm.

The crews, which will drive to their destination, were expected to leave Toronto on Sunday and are due in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Toronto is also sending 13 vehicles, including chipper trucks and bucket trucks. The crews are expected to return on Nov. 8.

Toronto Mayor John Tory gave the crews a send-off on Sunday, saying that the city is pleased to help Winnipeg recover from the fall storm that battered the city for two days on Oct. 10 and 11. Most staff people on the trip are certified arborists.

"Our country is built on the value of helping each other out," Tory told reporters at a news conference.

"My first instinct, and I think the first instinct of the people that I represent, is when someone else is in trouble in this country, you help out or you offer to help out. In this case, we offered, and they accepted," Tory added.

"We've got these crews and these trucks are going out to make life better for people who live in Winnipeg, who are our fellow Canadians. It's an important statement about us as a country and about us as a city."

Mayor says Toronto happy to lend a hand

Tory said Toronto is often portrayed as a "big bad city" but that the city is actually made up of "loving Canadians" who are happy to lend a hand to those in need.

According to the City of Toronto, Winnipeg is covering the cost of the emergency assistance from Toronto.

The City of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba have declared states of emergency following the storm, which brought strong winds and wet, heavy snow that felled trees and knocked out power for days in some cases.

Officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by the storm.

In a news release last week, the City of Winnipeg said its crews are focused on cutting down dangerous branches and damaged trees, then they will focus on cleaning the debris from city property.

"It will take many months to work through all the damage," the city said.

Dozens of foresters, arborists, and labourers from Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary are providing support to local crews.

With files from Muriel Draaisma


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