Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

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Hope Floats

To: Canada and the world at large.

I’m sending you this missive on behalf of the people of the Town of Goderich which was hit by an F3 Tornado on August 21st of this year. We want you all to know that we are doing ok with our “new normal” and we are getting on with it. We are a small rural community of 8 thousand souls where men still hold doors for women and yes you can actually pull right up to the front door of our Canadian Tire. We are a tourist town in the summer because of our gorgeous heritage buildings and Court House Square, where you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping or get a bite to eat, go to the movies, do some banking or grab an ice cream cone before you head on down to the beach. The Square is actually an octagon that you can drive around until you find West St. which is the access to our beach. Unfortunately it’s blocked right now because of the damage we sustained. If you happen to come by to the “Prettiest Town in Canada” and get lost trying to find it. Stop a passerby on the street, if we can’t figure it out, we’ll flag down someone that can for you.  One of the few places in the world where you can actually see the sun set twice. Once from the beach and the second time if you beat it up the bluff to watch it again.

Court House Square

I am calling what we are going through our New Normal because we’ve had to find a compass point for what has happened to us. We are all getting a crash coarse on the nitty gritty of rebuilding our community. Right from the clean up to insurance logistics to getting permits to tear our homes and business down.  Trying to get contractors to repair our roofs and our walls and our floors and replace all the invaluable things that we have lost. It’s mind boggling on a good day and truthfully, we are struggling. Not with divisiveness in our Community because the truth is. There is nothing quite like getting hit with a Tornado to teach you the meaning of the word community. What we are struggling with is the jigsaw puzzle that we’ve been handed. Rest assured that we’re putting the pieces back together. The sounds in our small town are changing day to day and so is the scenery. Where it was a mess right after the Tornado with hundreds of trees down and houses smashed and parts of buildings every where and random “stuff” all over the place, we are actually starting to get some semblance of order. The pictures you saw in the paper or online never did give it justice. Just sayin.

Dusk on Aug 21 2011

So, part of our new normal and part of the lessons that we are learning is to reach out. I can not begin to tell you how much support we have had. Neighbours helping rescue strangers to monetary funds pouring in from other cities to replace our trees on town property, to people calling from far and wide to ask what they can do to help us, and volunteers coming out of the woodwork. At some part in here, you actually learn the meaning of the word humble.  A small rural community struggling on a good day to keep business here and our children here to work, so that they too can enjoy the lifestyle that we have come to love. Goderich, Ontario, Canada is going to be open for business again soon. The strength, resilience and spirit of our people will see it through.

Open for business soon!

As a volunteer coordinator, I’ve set up a Tree Registry through  211 which is a place that our residence can call to let us know, just what they lost, as another part of our Heritage. The project is called Goderich trees and it’s a collaborative effort to get mature trees back on private properties. Who ever budgeted for replacing their trees? I didn’t.  Call me dumb if you want, but I really didn’t. If it’s in your heart to give or in your where with all to hold a fund raiser to help us. Please consider us in your daily lives. I can be reached personally through if you have any questions or comments. My motto these days has become……..never underestimate the things that I CAN do, and don’t ever underestimate the things that you CAN do either. I am a proud Canadian……….but not so proud that I don’t know when to ask for help when needed the most.

Donations can be mailed to:


35 East St.

P.O. Box 141

Goderich, Ontario

N7A 1N0



Please make your cheques payable to Goderich Edge Fund and all you have to do is put Environment: Goderich Trees on the memo line. Donations can also be made online at Goderich Edge Fund under the heading of Essence and Environment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please accept my thanks in advance.

Sincerely: Jody Armstead