Toronto just suffered its worst ice storm in four decades, and the neighbourhood of Leaside, with all its mature trees, was particularly hard hit. Large branches fell and blocked the sidewalks and roads, while even larger ones brought down power lines and caused serious property damage.
If your car is damaged while on your own property, you may have the option to claim repair costs under your homeowner’s insurance instead of your auto insurance. If you have questions (as I did) about your responsibility for tree limbs that may have fallen from your tree onto your neighbour’s property or service cables, you might consider calling the City of Toronto hotline at 311, which is available 24/7.
This storm reminded me of the blackout ten years ago, in that neighbours were gathered in the streets, and came together to help one another. Although it was a bit cold for group BBQs this time around, those who still had power helped those without, and people lent each other a hand in removing all the debris.
Last year, my neighbours planted a birch sapling with sentimental value, and I was sad to see it bent in half and frozen to the ground in ice. They were away when the storm hit, so we made several trips outside carrying containers of warm water to see if we could save it (I don’t just have a soft spot for animals). We were thrilled when it eventually lifted back upright! Success!
Throughout the year, try to keep up with removing dead branches from trees and pruning your hedges, so that damage is minimized when extreme weather hits. These cedar hedges make a pretty picture, but they have never been trimmed properly, and were crushing the fence beside them long before the ice storm hit. Added weight from all the snow and ice has made a bad situation significantly worse.
I hope most of my friends and clients weathered the storm with minimal damage. All the best to everyone for a happy and healthy 2014!