Hurricane Hazel - 50 years later October 1954 Hurricane Hazel


"...It was a gigantic flood with smashed houses and uprooted trees bobbing like corks, everything going down the river so fast. Houses crashing into the sides of other houses, people everywhere screaming. And then you couldn't even hear the screams anymore."
— Volunteer fireman Bryan Mitchell (Toronto Star, October 14, 1984)


On October 15, 1954, the most famous hurricane in Canadian history struck Southern Ontario. Hurricane Hazel was projected to dissipate, but instead re-intensified unexpectedly and rapidly, pounding the Toronto region with winds that reached 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph) and 285 millimetres (11.23 inches) of rain in 48 hours. Bridges and streets were washed out, homes and trailers were washed into Lake Ontario. Thousands were left homeless, and 81 people were killed—more than 30 on one street alone. The total cost of the destruction in Canada was estimated at $100 million (about $1 billion today). This storm would change the Toronto landscape forever and mobilize the need for managing watersheds on a regional basis. More…

300 million:
number of tons of water that fell during the storm
155:
Hazel's maximum speed (mph) in the Caribbean
81:
Number of people in Ontario who lost their lives from the flooding
4,000:
Number of families left homeless in Southern Ontario from the flood (1,868 in Toronto)
32: Houses on Raymore Drive that were washed away by floods
4:
Magnitude of Hazel at the maximum rating prior to landfall on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale




Hazel's Legacy
A must-see documentary featuring first-hand accounts that have never been publicly recorded before and interviews with experts in the area of flood control. Click here to preview film: Broadband : Dialup
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The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Hazel brought many people out to one of the most devastated sites, Kings Mill Park, where the Ontario Heritage Foundation unveiled a bronze plaque in recognition of the 81 people that lost their lives during the devastation.

               

                Click to view more photos

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