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One Year Ago: Tornado Touches Down In Vaughan

One year ago Friday, a tornado tore through Vaughan, ripping the roofs of off homes and sending rubble everywhere.

Trees and other debris landed on cars and covered the roads. In total, over 650 homes sustained damage, including 38 which required serious repair or inspection.

A house with no roof.

Now, residents are still struggling to put the pieces back together. While most people have returned home, a few families can’t, their houses still under repair.

On August 20, 2009, Ontario was hit by at least 18 tornadoes – a record, Environment Canada notes, for the most in one day in the country’s history.  

St. Peter’s Catholic School

Several of them touched down in Maple and Woodbridge. St. Peter’s Catholic School was evacuated and students were rushed to safety. Mayor Linda Jackson declared a state of emergency that lasted two days.

This week, Jackson told the Toronto Sun the city did not receive disaster funding from the provincial government.

Damage caused by the tornado.

The same storm killed an 11-year-old boy in Grey County. Owen McPherson was at a day camp in a conservation area when the tornado hit.  

The tornadoes prompted Premier Dalton McGuinty to call for a Canada-wide storm warning system, similar to those in place in the United States.

Each year in Ontario, we tend to see an average of 11 tornadoes. In 2009, that number rocketed to 29 – tying a record set in 2006.

Friday also marks the 40th anniversary of an F3 tornado that hit the Sudbury area. Six people were killed and 192 were injured in the storm that caused $17 million in damages.

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