May 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Blizzard over southern Quebec | Searching for electricity (and a little heat)

Blizzard over southern Quebec |  Searching for electricity (and a little heat)

As of late Thursday evening, more than 350,000 Montrealers were still without power. Many spend part of the day looking for places to stay warm, recharge the batteries of electronic devices and grab a bite to eat.


The streets of Outremont and Mont-Royal were plunged into darkness Thursday evening: not a lamp post, not a traffic light. The silhouette of homes in the glare of headlights and the bodies of broken branches pushed back along the streets. Here and there, a Hydro-Québec truck.

At the end of an equally dark Rockland Boulevard, a mirage appears: the illuminated signs of Rockland Center. Located in the heart of several areas hit hard by power outages – including Mont-Royal, Outremont and Parc-Extension – it has been attacked by people looking for warmth and food.

Everywhere in the metropolis, cafes, restaurants and even metro stations felt and witnessed the same flow. Press.

Photo by Dominic Gravel, The Press

Tamer Taufiq (left), Basant Mikheil and their three children

“It’s very difficult because it’s starting to get cold, there’s no hot water, and it’s not easy for the baby,” says Basant Meikhail. The mother sheltered in the mall for a good part of Thursday with her husband, Tamer Tawfiq, and their three children. Little Mauritia is only 7 weeks old.

Power went out in Villere on Wednesday night around 9 pm. Twenty-four hours passed and there was no sign of a return.

Mr Tawfiq tried to contact hotels to spend the night, but without success: everything was full. “We all sleep in the room together”, Mme Mikhail.

To go or to stay?

Next to them, in the hubbub of the shopping center, Tania Portillo and Philippe Cadieux brought their two daughters to eat ice cream, while warming up.

Photo by Dominic Gravel, The Press

Tania Portillo, Philippe Cadieux and their two daughters

“Last night, I had a little cold,” said six-and-a-half-year-old Tamara. “So the girls came to join us in bed and the family slept together,” explains Mme portal.

The family had relatives in Laurensians and wondered if she would leave to join them that evening or stay there hoping the power would come back on.

“I never saw”

The shopping center was attacked by people looking for a hot drink in the morning, Issa Haddad testified. “There are endless lines at every cafe, restaurant, Starbucks. At Tim Hortons, I used to wait at least an hour and a half for coffee! “, he wondered.

Resourceful, this resident of Outremont finally found the solution: he prepared instant coffee at home, in cold water. And he got a small stove that he could use inside. In the evening, we meet him installed next to an electrical outlet where he charges his cell phone while studying.

His only regret, under the circumstances, is the lost food: “I have two full freezers and I’ve done a lot of work. [le remplir]. I have pesto and all kinds of things,” he lamented.

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Shared electrical outlets

You only need to walk a few steps into the mall to see dozens of people using the electrical outlets available to them.

Zain El Arab also brought a power strip to charge the phones of his family members where he lives, including a one-month-old baby. He shares with those who need it.

“It’s hard, you can’t have coffee or hot food, especially with kids,” he said.

Photo by Dominic Gravel, The Press

Michelle Tardiff

Michel Tardiff said he likes being in Rockland Center because “at home, there’s nothing to do”.

Photo by Dominic Gravel, The Press

Corinne Ho

A little further, Corinne Ho, an American from Los Angeles, taps while charging her cell phone. Mme Ho was visiting his mother, who lives in Ahamsic-Cartierville. “It’s definitely more fun [dans le centre commercial] And it’s warm,” she points out, pointing to the bright windows of shops around her. Was she disappointed to visit Quebec under the circumstances? “Oh no, I love Montreal! she exclaims.

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