Ice Storm, Ontario 2013: The Beauty, the Devastation, the Aftermath

Ice Storm, Ontario 2013: The Beauty, the Devastation, the Aftermath - Star I received this book as part of the Goodreads “First Reads” Giveaway.

Seeing as it is April 2014 and there is still snow in my yard, I am still wearing my winter coat and scarf and as I sit down to write this review it is a cold, damp, blustery day it would seem as if it is a little soon to sit down a read a book about the ice storm of December 2013. Despite all that, I have to say I enjoyed this beautifully done book. A picture does paint a thousand words and this book, through pictures taken by award-winning journalists from the Toronto Star as well as from Ontarians documenting their own storm experiences, is a visual record of that storm.

The chapter names succinctly tell what this book is about. “The Storm” contains amazing photographs of the ice that covered every part of Southern Ontario, the massive broken trees that brought down power lines and caved in cars parked beneath them. “Devastating Beauty” shares the photos of sunlight glistening off the ice encrusted trees and fences, nature’s talent in sculpting accidental statues with wind, snow and ice and children making impromptu skating rinks on streets covered in inches of ice. “Pulling Together” has depictions of the brave and tireless city workers trying to restore the power outages. It salutes the brave Ontarians making the best of a bad situation by pulling together, offering shelter to those without hydro and manning warming centers. “The Aftermath” shows in pictures the trials and tribulations of being caught in the storm: unexpected three-day delays of flights at Pearson Airport, volunteers bringing food and grocery vouchers to those who lost Christmas dinner and more when freezers full of food thawed and had to be thrown out and the stamina of the urban wildlife surviving it all.

In his introduction, Michael Cooke, Toronto Star Editor, sums it up nicely by saying, “As you’ll see when you leaf through this book there are dozens of images that tell our stories of pluck and endurance. One man who embodies those attributes is David Farmer, the last man in the region to get his power back. The headline on a Star story about him read, ‘One person still doesn’t have his heat – his name is D-d-d-david.’”

I vividly recall driving to various places in the days following the storm and noticing things I would have liked to photograph – the little sapling tree covered in ice, yet standing straight while the older trees surrounding it were nothing but broken branches … the wire fence coated in ice and glistening in the morning sunlight … the fire hydrant sealed in ice – but for various reasons it was impossible to stop at the time to take the picture. I was very pleasantly surprised to see all those things represented in this book and of course in a manner more impressive than I could have captured with my cell phone camera.

This book will be the book you pull out years from now to show your children, grandchildren or visitors from southern climes what a Canadian Winter can really be like.

Published by ECW Press and the Toronto Star newspaper – they are donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to The Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund. This fund has been sending underprivileged and disabled children to summer camps since 1901.