The city of Barrie, in central Ontario, will turn its attention to cleanup today after a tornado ripped through a neighborhood, damaging homes and injuring multiple people.

Paramedics have said eight people were taken to the hospital and several more were treated for minor injuries.

Fire Chief Cory Mainprize said about 20 homes are considered uninhabitable, with two or three completely destroyed.

Crews are expected to begin doing some of the repairs today, including repairing roofs that were not seriously damaged.

Mayor Jeff Lehman says the community has already started coming together to support those who lost the most from the tornado by donating food and supplies.

He noted that it is a scene familiar to many longtime Barrie residents. A tornado killed eight people and injured more than 100 in the city in 1985. Hundreds of homes in the Allendale neighborhood were destroyed.

“Today’s scenes remind you of that,” Lehman said. “I lived in that neighborhood as a kid. I mean, it’s shocking, you know, you never expected to see it again.”

Yesterday’s tornado also brought memories to Judy Arksey, 70.

“It was like deja-vu,” he said. “I took a look at the sky and knew what was coming.”

He was in his daughter’s car in the driveway when the tornado ripped through the street yesterday. Their two grandchildren, ages six and 16, were with them.

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“I remember the horses were taken off the race track during the other tornado, and I thought, here goes our car with my grandkids in it,” Arksey said.

The cleanup begins after #tornado destroys home and injures people in #Barrie, Ontario.

As soon as he saw the sky, he said, he told them to look down so they wouldn’t see what awaited them.

Fortunately, she said, the car was left on the ground despite taking a beating in the strong wind, and she and her family escaped injuries.

He said the community has come together in the wake of yesterday’s destruction, just like 36 years ago.

Arksey spent two weeks volunteering after the 1985 tornado, she said, helping out at church where she could.

“I’m too old to do that this time,” he said.

This Canadian Press report was first published on July 16, 2021.

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