Uxbridge marks 1 year since tornado ripped through township

To this day, Adam Ruppel and his family feel the effects of the storm.

“My son and my dog get really frightened, where they didn’t prior,” Ruppel said. “They’re always on edge, thinking there’s another tornado.

And they’re not alone.

Sunday marked one year since a devastating EF2 tornado touched down in Uxbridge, Ont.

The storm tore roofs off, flattened buildings and destroyed power lines.

Strong winds hitting nearly 200 kilometres per hour knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people across southern Ontario.

The estimated damage costs were more than $1 billion.

Since then, Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton said the town has made continuous attempts to recover what was lost.

But it’s easier said than done. Just this year, the town began the removal of trees that were downed in the storm, thanks to a provincial grant.

Barton says they lost thousands of trees.

“It will not ever be the same,” Barton said. “It takes so long to grow a tree.”

Joanne Richter, one of the owners of the Second Wedge Brewery, dealt with ongoing construction after their building’s roof was torn off. She said it’s a relief to finally have a new building and be close to reopening again.

“We came in here so many times where it had no roof, and everything was completely dishevelled, and that was our reality for most of this year,” she said.

“Now to have it back is such a gift.”

Everywhere you look along the path of the storm, you can still see evidence of what happened one year ago.

Several homeowners of heritage buildings are still restoring and repairing their homes that were severely damaged in the storm. And Barton says there are dozens of people who are still technically displaced since their home was damaged from the storm.

Barton said he’s eager to get life back to normal in Uxbridge, and wants to remind visitors they are open for business.

“We need to get some of our tourists back in town,” he said. “We need to get the remaining people back into their homes.”

Rebuilding has been a long process, and Barton said it hasn’t been easy.

Though there’s still lots to be done, it has been rewarding for the community to reflect on their journey to recovery.

“It’s a sense of pride,” Barton said. “I’m so proud of our staff, the sense of community, how everyone came together to get us to this point.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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