Hurricane Hazel - 50 years later October 1954 Hurricane Hazel

Chronology of Storm Events / Hazel Affects Transportation / The Effects of Hazel on Toronto Area Communities / Southern Ontario Impacts /
Recovery / Lives that were Taken

Hazel Affects Transportation


  • A train hit a washout, plunging three cars into a ditch and miring others in mud. Stewart Nicholson, a Canadian National Railway (CNR) fireman died from burns and other injuries as the locomotive overturned. Gordon McCallum and Mrs. William Whittaker were injured in the crash. McCallum would later die from his injuries.
  • Two trains were delayed because of washouts, stranding 158 passengers.
  • Canadian National Railway (CNR) recorded 14,000 commuters, compared to the normal 1,000 from the west to Toronto.
  • The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) reported thousands more on shuttle buses.
  • On Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR), conductors could not pass the clogged aisles to collect fares from passengers. A spokesperson made this statement: "In view of the situation, the collection of fares became secondary. Getting the people where they had to go was the important thing."
    (Toronto Daily Star, October 18, 1954)


  • At the Cookstown cloverleaf on Highway 400, 350 people were marooned at a service station. The road was washed out south of the location at Bradford and just north of the service station, where a 20-foot gap had opened on the road.

  • Highway 12 from Midland to Orillia was under approximately four feet of water.
  • There were major washouts on highways 400 and 11.
  • Traffic approaching Toronto from the west was halted as the Bloor Street bridge over the Humber was threatened. The Humber Bloor bridge was reduced to one lane and the Lakeshore bridge was closed. Traffic was turned back at the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), Highway 5 and Lake Shore Road. Traffic attempting to cross the bridge was lined up to Cooksville.
  • A bridge over the Don River on John Street and York Mills, between Bayview Avenue and Yonge Street, was washed out.
  • Forty bridges were destroyed or structurally damaged and 10 were out of commission because of damage to the approaches.

  • Road damage caused long-term economic disruption. Bailey bridges had to be erected to cope with the transportation problems.
  • The bridge at Hogg's Hollow, damaged by Hazel, collapsed.
  • After Hazel, approximately 35,000 people arrived in Toronto from CPR and CNR commuter trains. Four roads remained closed, while others had detours.
  • Damaged roads and bridges were repaired before winter, but the temporary fixes were not strong enough to resist the effects of the thaw. Temporary fill that was used to repair washouts subsided, dropping vehicles up to their axles in mud in some locations.


  • In Oakville, 25 boats were swept into Lake Ontario.
  • The National Yacht Club estimated damage to their facilities and boats at $100,000.


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