It seems like yesterday, now that I’m writing about it but for the families in Grand Valley and Barrie and everywhere in between it was a nightmare that I’m sure has lasted for years!
It was May 31, 1985 — a defining day, not just for Barrie, but for much of Central Ontario including Grand Valley. The Barrie tornado was actually one of a series which devastated the province that afternoon.
There was a second, just as mighty as the first F4,that hit the ground hard just north of Arthur, tracking a path parallel to the first. Hydro towers were crushed and the only lines carrying power from the Bruce nuclear plant to the west side of Toronto went out of commission.
Cars without drivers moved down the road, the roof of the library was tossed
200 metres onto a house.
One-third of the town of 1,300 people was destroyed. Matilda McIntyre, a 76-year-old visitor from Scotland, was killed. Farmer Barry Wood died while driving his truck to his horse stables.
Along the way it sucked up the Mono Plaza on Highway 10, narrowly missing Orangeville, and headed for a farming community south of Tottenham.
The Grand Valley Tornado might have ripped out the mighty maples tree from the ground and devastated the town but in the Valley the heart and soul live on 26 years after that awful day.
On May 27 Grand Valley will be hosting the Second Annual Chase the Tornado 10k Run. While I like to run from time to time I think I will be on the sidelines and video everyone else ;). But for anyone that likes to run then this would be a great opportunity.
10k race & 5k walk – 10:00 am. BBQ -11:00. Awards at 11:30
Start & Finish at Grand Valley Community Centre, 90 Main Street North, Grand Valley
10K Course Description: Accurately measured 10k. Every km clearly marked. 5k split called out. 7.2k paved road, 1.2k well packed unpaved road, 1.6k rail trail. 90% flat, only 10% hills but they are significant. Run down Main Street, Grand Valley. Cross the Grand River 4 times via 3 different bridges. Uphill at 1.5km, 5.5km, 9.2km. Very pretty, wide open countryside. Most of route is a loop with about 1km of out and back on Amaranth St.
5K Walk: Start with the 10k runners and do a loop of the Village of Grand Valley, including views of the Grand River.
Registration At: OnlineRegistrations.ca or…Running Free Orangeville – 88 First Street, Orangeville
Kids 1/2 km – Free
Water stations: at 2k, 4.5k, & 8k.
Timing, awards, prizes: Technical shirts for participants in 10k run and 5k walk. Precise manual timing. Medals 3 deep male and female overall, and 3 deep in age groups 10 year increments.