Ice storm spurs busy day for Ottawa businesses

Broken hydro pole
Utility crews were kept busy repairing the damage from the ice story. (Photo via Hydro Ottawa)

While Monday’s unseasonable ice storm may have led many Ottawa businesses to hunker down, the chaos meant a busy day for some – and opportunity for others.

Hydro Ottawa spent the day tending to more than 90 power outages across its service area. Roughly 43,000 customers lost power in Ottawa as of mid-afternoon, mainly in the southern and central areas of the city, as heavy ice brought down trees and hydro poles.

Power outages forced multiple businesses to close, including the Westgate Shopping Centre and Hintonburg’s Tooth and Nail Brewing.

The storm also toppled an antenna on the roof of the Delta Hotels on Lyon Street, which threatened to fall from the tower earlier in the day. Ottawa Fire Services say they had the antenna patched up and resecured by around noon.

As of writing, nearly 30 flights from the Ottawa International Airport had been cancelled on Monday, with a handful more delayed. Nearly the same amount of inbound flights were cancelled, with a few dozen more delayed.

By the afternoon, flights were both arriving and departing more regularly.

Some businesses, like those Ottawa residents who skated down their city streets on Monday, saw opportunity in the ice storm.

Score Pizza, which opened up in the Rideau Centre at the start of the year, launched a social media campaign to hand out free pizzas in exchange for retweets.

At the time of publishing, the original tweet had surpassed 200 retweets, and Score Pizza had shared a few photos of volunteers sharing a slice with construction workers and the homeless outside on Rideau Street.

Of course, those restaurants and pubs that did have power were also out on Twitter advertising warm soups and cool beverages for those who needed shelter from the storm.