Overwhelming community support following Barrie tornado

On-site donations for relief efforts have been halted

An outpouring of donations from the Barrie community means the Salvation Army and its team of volunteers is fully stocked to provide supplies to those residents affected by the tornado on Thursday.

Gymnasium at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic School – Twitter via Barrie Fire Chief Cory Mainprize

The support has been so amazing, the City of Barrie says the Salvation Army has had to stop receiving on-site donations. To be added to the list to offer assistance or donations, please email ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca

The Salvation Army will distribute the donations received so far to those in need and arrange for the pickup of perishables and large quantities of certain items. 

Monetary donations to help those affected are being accepted by the Salvation Army (please mark ‘tornado relief’), by dropping off at their 16 Bayfield St. location, or visit salvationarmy.ca for credit card donations and specify ‘Barrie tornado’.

The cleanup from the tornado will continue throughout the weekend, and this includes city crews who could be seen on Friday sweeping and removing debris from storm-affected neighbourhoods.

Image provided – City of Barrie
Image provided – City of Barrie

As of Friday night, Alectra said hydro crews had restored power to all but 20 customers.

Unfortunately, as seems to be always the case after disaster, there are those who will try and take advantage of a situation. Alectra is warning there are scammers claiming to be from the power company who claim there must be a payment made before they can inspect homes damaged by the tornado. Anyone who encounters such a situation is asked to call police.

A Barrie police officer assists a storm survivor – Image provided – Barrie police

While progress is being made on a number of fronts, if you don’t live in the Prince William Way and Mapleview Drive area, please stay away, for your own safety, and so emergency crews can continue to assist residents impacted by the tornado.

Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones visited Barrie on Friday afternoon to see the tornado damage for themselves. Standing in front of homes missing roofs and windows, Ford said the province “will have the people’s back.”

Ford said it was an absolute miracle no one was killed.

Premier Doug Ford visits a Barrie neighbourhood damaged by the tornado – Barrie 360

Ford was also briefed on operations at the County of Simcoe paramedic’s mobile command unit. The unit responds to large scale emergencies to provide command and control functions during an event.

Image – Twitter – County of Simcoe paramedics

City of Barrie building inspectors have deemed approximately 60 homes as unsafe.

The city has also provided other information and resources to help residents recover from the tornado.

  • Orders indicating the status of affected homes will be posted on front doors or other visible area at the front of properties. This is the City’s obligation under the Building Code Act.
  • The number of buildings determined to be unsafe will change as more detailed information becomes available. If an order has not been posted on your house, and you think it may be unsafe, call the tornado assistance line at 705-728-8442 and Building Department staff will investigate.
  • A trailer is on-site with City Building staff available to help residents with building assessments and safety. Please rely on professionals to help clear your home safely. Visit the on-site trailer or call the tornado assistance line at 705-728-8442.
  • Anyone displaced by the storm is being supported through an evacuation centre, and supports are available for temporary housing, food, clothing, etc.
  • Document the damage as best you can for a property tax relief application. Visit barrie.ca/PropertyTaxes to access the application form and more information.
  • The Government of Ontario offers two programs that provide financial assistance following sudden, unexpected natural disasters. Visit emergencymanagementontario.ca.

 Additional Resources:

  • Tornado assistance line for affected residents: 705-728-8442
  • Ontario SPCA support for anyone who needs temporary housing or food for their animal:
    310-SPCA (7722)
  • Barrie Public Library Painswick branch: offering computers, free wi-fi and laptops that can be borrowed in-branch for anyone that needs internet and computer access
  • Red Cross registration number for residents directly affected: 289-206-8275
  • Ontario 211: Community and Social Services: call 2-1-1 or visit communityconnection.ca
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County: cmhastarttalking.ca
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca