Ice storm: in the face of power cuts, Montreal adapts

Ice: facing cuts of electricity, Montreal adapts

The power cuts caused by the freezing rain have left many citizens in the embarrassment. This Friday, nearly 48 hours after the start of the bad weather, Montrealers had to continue to adapt, starting with merchants, for whom “time is money”.

Ice: facing cut-offs ;electricity, Montreal is adapting

“We couldn't afford to stay closed one more day,” says the co-owner of the Fleury bookstore in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Hélène Prévost . Without electricity since 5 p.m. Wednesday, it had to close yesterday despite the Easter holiday weekend.

At this important time of year for small businesses, it has resigned itself to opening with or without electricity. Despite the daylight, darkness reigns in this small independent bookstore. Employees pointed a flashlight at the books spread out on the shelves to help customers find what they were looking for.

Ice weather: face to power cuts, Montreal adapts

“We had cellphones so customers could pay contactless, but only with Square [a dematerialized payment service]. Otherwise it’s in cash,’explains the entrepreneur. Above all, she hopes that the power “will return this evening so that we can open normally tomorrow”.

L’ collaboration

Further down the same street, Laurence is busy offering beer tastings in front of the Boire Grand boutique. “There is no electricity at my house so I have been freezing them for three days. Fortunately, I can warm myself, but you have to think of others. Eating at the restaurant for a week will quickly become expensive for a family,” she says.

Just like the co-owner of the Fleury bookstore, the store manager Eduardo Naso has decided to reopen to do not lose an extra day of turnover. The door left wide open, he transformed the place into an “indoor fridge”, he says with a smile.

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Françoise was a little less smiling when she discovered that her neighborhood Jean Coutu pharmacy was closed. She wanted her medication back. “I do not know how to do. If I go to another pharmacy […] they won’t have my prescription since it’s here,” she fears.

Indeed, a patient file is in principle kept in a single and even pharmacy. But in cases like this, “pharmacies can communicate with each other and arrange, at the discretion of the pharmacist”, explains Patrick, manager of a Pharmaprix in Villeray, where the cut lasted a total of only two hours.

Sometimes we keep drugs from another Pharmaprix. This is currently the case. For patients whose pharmacy is closed, you have to go find another one, they will sometimes be able to help out. The pharmacists all know each other and help each other.

Patrick, manager of a Pharmaprix

Circulation more difficult

The consequences of the ice storm also had an impact on the roads of Montreal. On the way from Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension to the borough of Saint-Léonard, Métro noticed a certain chaos in the intersections with lights located in areas still without electricity.

Ice : in the face of power cuts, Montreal is adapting

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At the corner of boulevards Saint-Michel and Industriel, many motorists did not stop at the flashing red light. The same phenomenon has been observed in several boroughs, where the intersection lights have given way to a lot of misunderstanding. This is not to mention the many sudden lane changes to avoid fallen branches, as above near Maisonneuve Park.

A shopkeeper from Saint-Michel, who runs a small grocery store selling products Caribbean, was unable to open shop this Friday. In front of the business, she sighs: “it is even colder inside than outside”.

The latter did not ask for help from the neighbors. “I'm waiting,” she blurts out. “I sell a lot of food, but it’s all to throw away,” she adds. The power cuts could last until at least Monday, according to Hydro-Quebec. Cuts that would result in a lot of food waste.

Ice : in the face of power cuts, Montreal is adapting

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