In January of 1998 a severe storm of freezing rain struck Ontario and Quebec. In areas 2 inches (50mm) of ice accumulated on power lines and trees. Power lines failed and power was lost to about 2 million people. Business were shut down and people were stranded in their homes.
The Brockville Rifles deployed on OP Recuperation with the Canadian Armed Forces. The Brockville Armoury became the headquarters for the main effort in the area.
On the 20th Anniversary of the event the Brockville Recorder and Times Collected stories from the people of the area, including one from Cpl Lloyd Baker, CD.
“I am a member of The Brockville Rifles and that morning I was due to go in as we were doing equipment checks so I was up early. Looked out the window and realized there was no way I was going down in that mess so took my time getting ready for the day. Received a call from the Armoury asking if I wanted to assist since I had vehicle qualifications; this was before we were officially asked to assist by Ottawa.
As more Units showed up the Brocks lived in the Large Classroom, Medics were in the Small Classroom and everyone else was on the Main Floor and others were scattered about as well.
The Armoury in Brockville was used during OP Recuperation as a place to stay. At its height, almost 200 people were sleeping here. (1)
Quote from Joe Jordan, MP for Leeds-Grenville, Ontario
“Mr. Speaker, as a representative of one of the areas hit hard by the recent ice storm, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts of emergency services personnel, the firefighters who in Leeds—Grenville are largely volunteer, police, hospital staff, the Brockville Rifles, the local coast guard, municipal personnel and politicians, service clubs, local church congregations, CFJR radio station, local businesses, industries and government agencies, as well as countless volunteers and their families throughout Leeds—Grenville.
Although it is true we went without electricity, we were not however without power, the power of generosity, kindness, compassion, honesty, courage and community spirit. In Leeds—Grenville people pulled together to minimize the tragedies associated with this disaster.
If I seem to be holding my head a little higher it is because I have the tremendous honour of representing these people and their values in the 36th Parliament of Canada.”
(1) Operation Recuperation, http://www.oocities.org/pentagon/2931/ftx_pu.htm
(2) Ice Storm memories, http://www.recorder.ca/2018/01/08/ice-storm-memories
(3) Interview with Cpl. Lloyd Baker, CD, January 6, 2018