Hurricane Hazel: Disaster Relief, Politics, and Society in Canada, 1954-55 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • On Friday 16 October 1954, Hurricane Hazel generated flash floods in the watersheds surrounding Toronto. Flooding destroyed bridges, engulfed trailer parks and residential areas, and swept automobiles, trailers, cottages and homes into the strong current. In this essay, the authors explore the ways that the federal and provincial governments interacted with voluntary organizations and local governments to deal with the immediate crisis produced by Hazel’s floods, and how they negotiated the lengthy process of restoration. The responses of those governments tell us much about the social and environmental assumptions as well as the political capacity of Canadian society in the mid-1950s. The federal and provincial governments immediately promised action, but then reluctantly became involved in reconstruction, leaving as much responsibility as possible to voluntary organizations and local governments. A tropical storm travelling through the province of Ontario was a relatively rare event, yet ultimately gove...

publication date

  • December 23, 2016

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