Whenever we hear that today is a landmark anniversary of some public crisis or other, it’s logical to ask oneself, “Where was I that day?”

So, where was I when the ice-storm catastrophe hit 24 years ago?

As it turns out, I was working with Emergency Measures Ontario, (EMO) in its Emergency Operations Centre on the 19th floor of a Queens Park office building. My job was handling media relations 24/7.

What stays with me is the most challenging part of responding to the worst weather catastrophe in ages, was that we had no way of knowing when it would stop. Soon, municipalities started declaring an emergency and by the time it was over around January 10th, 55 communities had declared. The damage was extensive.

Several months later, the Ops Centre crew was nominated for, and honoured to receive, the Amethyst Award, the province’s highest for its civil servants.

I had to write up the application as well as the citation for the ceremony. Unfortunately, the guy who read it garbled and muffed it so badly, I could hardly recognize what everyone had worked so hard to achieve.

5 January 2022

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