THE WAY WE WERE: Deadly Hurricane Hazel blew threw Toronto 65 years ago

Looking back 65 years ago today numerous southern Ontario communities, large and small, continued to clean up after what has become known as Hurricane Hazel, but what in strictly meteorological terms was an extratropical category 1 storm.

No matter what descriptive title people chose to use, Hazel remains as one of the most destructive natural disasters to affect this part of our country.

Damage to property, private as well as public, exceeded $137 million (more than $1.3 billion in $2018). Worse yet, Hazel was a killer with 81 local deaths in its wake, a figure that included 35 victims living on Raymore Dr. adjacent to the Humber River.

Of that number, 10 lived in one house.

Volunteer crews made up of ordinary citizens, members of the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts and Canada’s military spent days following Hazel’s arrival on the evening of Oct. 15, 1954, scouring the banks of local watercourses like Black Creek, the Humber, Don and Rouge Rivers, searching for victims of the storm. When a final count was done, 81 people had lost their lives including this poor unfortunate being carried to the morgue to be identified.