After the Storm. In the year after the Ottawa region was hit by six tornadoes, our community came together to rebuild and recover.

In the year after the Ottawa region was hit by six tornadoes, our community came together to rebuild and recover.

A photo of a house destroyed after the Ottawa tornado.

On September 21, 2018, a devastating storm ripped through Ottawa.

Multiple tornadoes touched down in the region, causing significant damage to houses and local hydro grids. Almost all of western and southern Ottawa was without power—170,000 households were affected. Homes were lost, food was spoiled, and communities were forever changed.

The response

In the immediate aftermath of the tornadoes, the community and its front-line workers responded. We were there for each other. From small moments of kindness to enormous acts of bravery and dedication—we are proud of our city, and our commitment to build (and rebuild) it together.

In the days that followed, many of Ottawa’s leading organizations responded, forming After the Storm — an important partnership where all members committed to plan for recovery. The group shared data and expertise, identified the city’s greatest needs, and worked to invest and deploy resources where they were needed most and would have the greatest impact.

Partners included United Ways, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Food Bank, Salvation Army, Ottawa Senators Foundation, Ottawa Community Foundation, Ottawa Community Housing and the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, Champlain Community Support Network, Canadian Red Cross, West Carleton Disaster Relief, Trend-Arlington Community Association, United Muslim Organization of Ottawa-Gatineau, local community health and resource centres (South-East Ottawa; Western Ottawa; and Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode), and more.

One year later

As a group, the After the Storm table established a coordinated approach to delivering social services and relief to residents. We also ensured partners and the broader community were well-informed of progress and priorities.

At United Way, we raised and invested more than $700,000 through After the Storm to support basic needs, and long-term recovery initiatives like mental health supports, program navigation assistance, outreach to seniors, community resiliency, and legacy projects.

Every step of the way, we worked with community associations, residents and front-line workers in Dunrobin, Kinburn, Greenboro, Craig Henry and Arlington Woods to determine the needs and invest funds where they would have the greatest impact.

Your donations to United Way through After the Storm helped ensure the long-term recovery of residents hit hardest by the storm.

Read our report

Moving forward

The six tornadoes that hit neighbourhoods in and around Ottawa on September 21, 2018 were over in a matter of minutes.

However, the effects have been long-lasting. Many families are still not back in their homes. Many continue to deal with insurance claims, home repairs, emotional stress, and just trying to return to a sense of normalcy in communities that may never look the same.

But United Way is still here – working on-the-ground, with local agencies in the affected neighbourhoods, and key partners from the After the Storm table who remain active in recovery activities.

To all of the incredible people and organizations who stepped forward in our neighbours’ time of need: thank you. After the Storm was only possible because of the commitment and support of our vibrant community. The struggle isn’t over, but we are stronger as a result of the connections we built.

Thank you for standing by your community.



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Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region: 24/7 mental health support

Help Directory

List of local resources – counselling, financial assistance and more.

Photos by Laura Jones and Nicole Novonty.
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