tornado damage to trees at Martyrs’ Shrine, Midland, Ontario


The church escaped damage from the June 23, 2010 tornado that destroyed 70 homes and made another 50 homes unihabitable as well as destroying or damaging a number of businesses.  Many trees were lost. Many trees destroyed on the grounds of this Shrine, the 1927 Shrine to the Canadian Jesuit Martyrs who were martyred by the Iroquois in 1649.

The church was built in 1927.

Tree damage some as close as a hundred feet away from the church.

below, a religious statue contemplates the damage to the trees

photos of tornado damage in Midland, Ontario


Around 6:30 PM on June 23rd, 2010, a tornado touched down in Midland, Ontario.

Today I went to Midland to take some photos and got some of Baytech Plastics which had two large sections of concrete block wall sucked out by the tornado.  I started walking into the trailer park which was heavily damaged and then I had second thoughts. I decided I did not need to voyeuristically snap some photos of the devastation and hardship that has befallen the people who lived there.  The major league media has taken enough photos and video.

What is striking is how tightly focused is the trail of the tornado.  Few trees are down.  I was told by someone that many trees were knocked down behind Martyrs’ Shrine and some of the statues of the Starions of the Cross were spun around 180 degrees.  Tomorrow afternoon I am visiting the Shrine and I will see what photos I can take there.

driving through Midland after the tornado


Thursday June 24th was the day after the tornado rampaged through Midland. I am a hemodialysis patient and I receive treatment three times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 7:15 AM until about noon.  On the 24th, I left about 45 minutes earlier than usual to drive from east of Victoria Harbour along Hwy 12 to pass on the edge of Midland, Ontario, and then hoping to turn on my normal track along Hwy 93 to Penetang and then into the dialysis clinic at the Penetang Hospital.  Reports said that the tornado struck at about 6:30 PM on June 23rd.

I was surprised to find Hwy 12 open all the way. I had anticipated having to loop south and west on some kind of detour.  Hwy 93 was closed between Hwy 12 and Yonge Street because of damage and power lines down.  My detour was short, just a one road swing to the west.  I rejoined 93 above the blockade and headed towards Penetang. All the traffic lights were out and so people treated them as four way stops. Power was out in a large area of Midland and some of Penetang. It was eerie to see so many darkened businesses and homes.

Back on 12 I saw the front of Baytech manufacturing plant draped with enormous blue tarps.  It seems the roof was damaged and much of the front cement block wall collapsed.  The reports said workers were in the plant when the tornado struck. No one was seriously hurt. I did not see many trees down. It seems the damage was very concentrated.

Penetang Hospital was on backup generator power and dialysis went ahead.  There was no power for the televisions which made for a run that seemed longer than usual, but a small problem.   When I retraced my route home at noon today, Hwy 93 was still closed as in the morning.

The Mayor of Midland has estimated damage at $10-15 million.

A lot of damage took place in a trailer park in Midland near Little Lake.  One resident told reporters he heard a sound like a freight train coming towards his trailer.

Tornado near Midland, Ontario?


Reports are sketchy, storm hit hard at Perkinsfield and then Midland, a report that Walmart and Kelsey’s Restaurant about a thousand yards apart were heavily damaged.  Mayor of Midland has declared a local state of emergency.  I tried to get into Midland this evening not realizing the severity of the storm. It was quick and sharp and windy in Victoria Harbour and lots of rain but nothing out of the summer range of thunderstorms.  Hwy 12 was closed east of Midland.  I hope no one was hurt.

Not sure if my normal highway route to dialysis, I go first thing Thursday morning, will be clear.  So I will get up early and assume that I will have to take some time eating detours to swing south and west to reach Penetang from the far side to get to the clinic in the Penetang Hospital.

Grace turned one year old


On June 21st, Grace turned one year old.  She weighs just under 70 lbs.  To start off her party day, I took her for a ten minute visit to the dialysis clinic in Penetanguishene.  Some of the nurses had seen her when she was smaller on an earlier visit.  She was well behaved and didn’t mind the automatic opening door.  Then on the way home we stopped at the off leash park for a romp.  Shortly after we got home we found our next door neighbour had gone into the shallow water with her 10 year old dog, Maggie, a springer spaniel who is Grace’s best friend.  So out we went to see if Maggie could draw Grace into Georgian Bay.  Grace has been very hesitant about the notion of swimming.  After some encouraging by Maggie, in went Grace.  Much bouncing and splashing in the shallows followed.  I waded out into the deeper water and Grace followed me and demonstrated a creditable dog paddle.  After we got ashore and got dried off, Grace received her birthday gift, a plush stuffed dolphin, who she loves and is chewing on with great delight.

Grace on her first day in her new home last summer.

Grace at the off leash park

William J. Gibson jr. and sr.


taken about 25 years ago by my sister outside at a grotto to the Blessed Virgin Mary at Martyrs’ Shrine, Midland, Ontario. The Shrine to the Canadian Jesuit Martyrs was built in 1927. My father attended the opening of the shrine church, driving with his family from Kingston, Ontario. He died in 1992. I miss him not just on Fathers’ Day.