Weathering the storms

Stone Edge Estate showing the ravages of the ice storm.

Stone Edge Estate showing the ravages of the ice storm.

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GEORGETOWN, ON; ST. JOHN'S, NL; ST ANDREWS BY-THE-SEA, NB—Doug Rapien, owner of Stone Edge Estate, a bed and breakfast located among the rolling hills near Georgetown, ON, had to get creative in order to survive the ice storm that struck parts of Ontario just before Christmas.

“They were very adaptive—power was out for a week,” says guest Donna Messer. “I hosted a family dinner there for 21 people on the 21st of December—the day the storm began. It was only moments after the last guests left that the power went off and didn't come back on until Dec. 27th.  

“Doug used the water in the swimming pool to flush toilets, wash dishes, and
do what ever needed to be done that needed water. He had a gas stove so he could heat food and water. There was an old generator in the barn that he was able to hook up to provide limited power to some of the rooms.” 

The ice storm was also beautiful.

The ice storm was also beautiful.

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The Christmas that almost wasn't

St. Andrews By-the-Sea, NB was hit with a nasty storm over the holidays, with people losing power for as many as 11 days.

Tim Ostrem, general manager of the Algonquin hotel, said, “We were fortunate as our loss was less than 24 hours and we were able to maintain fire/life system with adequate battery back-up. Overall there was minor damage with one small leak in a finished area and a number of small leaks in unfinished areas.

“While collaborating with the local authorities it was deemed that they could use some emergency housing during the peak of the storm when 95 per cent of the town and most of the rural areas were without power. (December 24th and 25th). Working with the fire chief and fire marshal, we were able to gain temporary occupancy approval and provide housing in the Prince of Wales Wing. We set it up as a residence with a 24 hour resident manager and provided about 45 room nights to folks most in need.

“In addition, we acted as a warming station and used a number of rooms to provide a hot shower to those who needed to warm up. We were even able to provide some very modest meals to one family that was left stranded without any food on Christmas Day.

Ostrem praised some of the people who made this happen: Gemma Noseworthy who came in and set systems up so the hotel could check guests in, even though she had no power at home; Patrick Sohy from Avant Garde who stayed in town as a prerequisite of the fire marshal to facilitate the occupancy; Jamie Little from maintenance who was at the hotel continuously checking the building, clearing snow and managing the boiler; and Daniel Schmitz, GSA, who gave up his holidays to be the “resident manager” throughout the occupancy.

Here is a post with numerous comments showing the strength of this goodwill.

Daniel Schmitz gave up his holidays to be resident manager

Daniel Schmitz gave up his holidays to be resident manager

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Outages in Newfoundland too

Newfoundland also suffered power outages this past weekend.  “We did suffer a loss of power where we had to offer reduced services for a couple of days,” said Roary MacPherson, executive chef at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland in St. John's.

“We have enough equipment on emergency power to keep the operation running. Cooking by flashlight is always a challenge.”

“Most people on the island lost power at some point over the weekend,” said Melissa Ennis, social media communications co-ordinator for Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, in an e-mail Jan. 7. “We kept the office closed yesterday because of the rolling outages and to try to conserve energy. We’ll see what the next few days bring!”