On average, there are around 80 confirmed and unconfirmed tornadoes that touch down in Canada each year (Ontario - around 15 tornadoes per season) and usually result in minor structural damage to barns, fences, roof shingles, uprooted or snapped tree limbs and downed power lines.
August 20, 2009 Southern Ontario - Eighteen confirmed tornadoes touched down in Ontario, the largest tornado outbreak in Canadian history.
June 6, 2010 (see pictures) an F2 tornado went from Harrow, through Kingsville and Leamington, Ontario, before dissipating near Point Pelee National Park.
Like the United States, Environment Canada uses a two-phase warning system for such tornadic storms:
1) A tornado watch - "Be prepared to take shelter, preferably in the lower level of a sturdy building."
2) A tornado warning - "If you are in the path of a tornado, take emergency precautions immediately".
Here are some basic parking rules:
Never park on the travelled part of a road. Drive off the road onto the shoulder if you must stop for some reason.
Do not park where you will block a vehicle already parked or where you will block a sidewalk, crosswalk, pedestrian crossing or road entrance.
Do not park within three metres of a fire hydrant (THEY are EVERY 50 METERS!). Fee - from $100.
Do not park within nine metres of an intersection or within 15 metres if it is controlled by traffic lights or of the nearest rail of level railway crossing.
Never park in a space designated for people with disabilities unless you display a Disabled Person Parking Permit in the windshield of your vehicle. The permit must belong to you or one of your passengers. Fee - $350-$500.
Parking tickets have to be paid within 15 days.
do shopping but remember !!!!
there is goods and service tax (GST) as well as Provincial Sales Tax (PST) - in 2010 they were combined in HST - so it's 13% tax in Ontario.
Taxes are not included in price!
Although Ontario Highways are usually safe, on 21st July 2002 there were 3 accidents resulting in 10 deaths on Highways 401 and 400.
Although this may sound like a warning or danger tip, for fun lovers this can also be part of enjoyment.
Barrie is the capital of touristic Simcoe county. In late spring, summers and fall, the urban dwellers of Toronto and Southwestern regions head north for various destinations around Barrie, especially to Wasaga Beach and lakefronts. Highway 400 from Toronto to Barrie becomes very crowded in the morning and then later in the day.
We saw a major traffic jam on this Highway during summer when we were going to Sudbury in 2005. What we later found is that people start early for going to the region. On a typical weekend, they may start as early as at noon on Fridays (i.e. taking the 2nd half off work and schools).
In late fall and winters, driving conditions are treacherous. Snow squalls are common and roads become very slippery. We had our first taste of heavy snow fall while driving back from Lagoon City to Orillia to Barrie in late October 2006. Lake effect snow can make driving difficult for people having not much experience of snowy conditions.
One of my favourite things to do is to go four wheeling or ATVing. Either way please respect the land. Yes these machines are made to pretty much drive over anything and everything, but they can create a ton of damage to the landscape. Please stick to the trails that are out there and be sure to obey all the laws. You can rent ATVs at many lodges and camp sites or from dealers themselves. But you are ultimately responsible. Helmuts must be worn at all times, be sure to have proof of ID, registration of the machine, and insurance papers of some sort. Also make sure that the bikes have license plates on them and that they are valid. Riding on the roads are now permitted, but ride on the shoulder of the road whenever possible and keep the bikes at the speed limit. Also ride with traffic, not against. Now doubling, as much as people love to do it, it really isn't permitted. Yes I'm a guilty one of course and it depends on who pulls you over and what mood either the police or the MNR ( Ministry of Natrual Resources) is in that day on whether or not you will be ticketed. Remember when you are on the road you are sharing it with semis and other vehicles. Also there are areas of land that is private property, and yes these trails do cross through them, please be respectful to the owers of the land otherwise they may block access for other riders. Many of the land is farming fields and there is livestock so pass by them slowly.
Enjoy Ontario's beautiful landscape and have fun, keep your bucket on and shiny side up!
One of the nasty plants of Ontario, and other parts of Eastern North America, is the Poison Ivy plant. I think the warning phrase is something like "Leaves of 3, Beware of thee". It is the oil of the poison ivy leaf that gets on the skin and causes irritation. It comes up like a little water blister, and is extremely itchy. Calamine lotion is excellent to put on it, to help the blisters dry up. If you get affected, and some people do not have any reaction to the plants, and others, like me, can get it badly on legs, arms, and foolishly if you rub your face... on there too. I seemed ot have it in my blood system, as I came out with some reaction even not being near it. Watch out for wet dogs that may have rolled in it and then shake off the water, along with the the oils - my grandmother had a horrible breakout after that experience.
Bears inhabit almost all Ontario regions. These are Black Bears and in the extreme north Polar Bears. Black bears are sometimes seen in parks or even in towns and cities. If you are lucky enough to see a bear from your car, just stay in your car. If you encounter a bear on a trail, yell, wavy your arms, throw things, do NOT run!! When you run bears with think that they should chase you, and you cannot outrun a bear. They are also excellent climbers and swimmers, so there is no good escape. The best thing is to avoid encountering a bear in the first place by making noise when you are on a trail so that they will hear you and walk away. When camping in a tent, NEVER, take any food or scented items into the tent at night, bears have a great sense of smell and a large appetite.
Poison Ivy is a plant that produces an oily substance on the surface of its leaves, which causes an allergic reaction that can look like hives or a bad burn. This reaction happens in more than 70% of people and best avoided by avoiding contact with the plant. The leaves are in groups of 3 and are shiny (due to the substance). This plant is found in many forested or lightly forested areas of Ontario, even in towns/cities. The residue from the plant can also be transferred from on body part or item of clothing to another, for up to a day in my experience. The reaction usually comes up the day after, so some people find that by then they have it not only on there legs, but also on hands and faces. Cortisone creams or calamine lotion can provide temporary relief, but in some cases an antihistimine injection is required.
This photo is taken from the website listed below. Check for more info.
West nile virus has been in Ontario since the summer of 2001. In 2002, a number of people got sick and some died. Many still have lasting effects. The best protection is to wear light coloured clothing and a bug spray with at least 25% DEET. You can also try avoiding the ourdoors from dusk to dawn, but who wants to do that?
The road from Toronto to Stayner is a very scenic one but also a road with many hills.
When I first arrived it had snowed and driving to Stayner was a bit scary. Fortunately Jacob drove us safely home!
Visiting Ontario for the first time meant a lot of driving in the car of course and I got quite taken by the many roadsigns along the road, so different from what I see at home.
This one tells us how many accidents and deaths since 1978 and orders you to slow down some.
One of the sad signs of spring along the highways of Ontario is the increase of roadkill, particularly raccoons. Heading north from Toronto, up highway 400, there are countless numbers of dead animals hit by unsuspecting drivers. It isn't that they don't care, but when you're travelling over 100km/hr with cars zooming up on either side of you, it is unavoidable that a slow moving or darting animal is going to lose the race. Years and generations of roads, cars and animals living near them and you would think that one of them would learn roadsense. Please be aware of those bright eyes that suddenly appear out of the dark, and do your best, without endangering the lives of you and your passengers, and other vehicles around, to avoid hitting our wildlife. The fact is that there are many many human fatalities, and millions of dollars of car repairs, coming out of someone trying to avoid an animal, but skidding out of control and having an accident.
It sickens me as an animal lover seeing dead raccoons, porcupines, skunks, and other wildlife by the side or in the middle of the road, but I know from experience how dangerous it can be to try to avoid one.
Arghhh.... this is something happened to me while I parked in front of my house in Stayner! Every village has it's own by-laws. And one of the by-laws in Stayner is that it is forbidden to park on the street between 1 AM and 6 AM. That's something you just have to know.... of course we found out the hard way and got a ticket for parking on the street in front of the house :-( Not every road on which you enter Stayner has this sign that warns you for the parking rules. Arghhh... I never noticed this sign before.... until it was too late of course. So I guess this is not only a warning for Stayner, but most likely for many more villages in Ontario.
Watch out for the snowmobiles! They have their own trails going through the countryside. But they also share the same road as you do, using the shoulder of the road. So be aware of them! They can go quite fast, and join the roads suddenly as part of their trail.
Be prepared for some snow when you visit Ontario in the winter! This picture was taken on 30th January, 2003 close to the village where I live, Stayner. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so I went out to take some pictures of the snow covered landscape. Hahaha, but the sandbanks were so high I couldn't look over them any more :-)) This is what they call an old-fashioned Canadian winter :-) Not all parts of Canada get this much snow, Toronto for example doesn't have neaerly as much as this. Hahaha, the area where I live is called 'snowbelt region', because it is known for the huge amount of snow that can fall here :-)
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