TORONTO - The mayor of Toronto said "things are improving" in the city hit hard by a weekend ice storm which wreaked havoc from southwestern Ontario to the Atlantic Coast.
Rob Ford says power has been restored to 75,000 homes and more are being brought back every hour by Toronto Hydro crews working around the clock after ice splintered a huge number of trees and made roads and sidewalks treacherous.
He told a Monday morning news conference that approximately 200,000 customers still have no electricity but high winds that could have brought down more trees branches and caused more outages did not batter the city overnight as feared.
Ford said he was right to hold off calling a state of emergency.
"It’s my call to declare a state of emergency," he said. "I didn’t think it was appropriate to call that last night. I waited until this morning. As you can see things are improving so that’s where we stand."
Ford says the city's roads are in good shape and most of the transit system is back with full subway service expected to resume later Monday.
Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines warned those without power to expect to remain out for "multiple days" but said he felt restoration efforts had turned a corner.
"I feel like we’re now winning the war... where we’re able to restore more than is breaking in behind us," he said.
Hydro One, which has 1.3 million customers in Ontario, said they had 115,864 customers without power.
Premier Kathleen Wynne told a news conference Sunday the province would provide support to municipal emergency crews as they scramble to do their jobs.
Air travellers were still being frustrated by numerous flight cancellations and delays at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
The storm system also coated much of southern Quebec in ice, and continues to produce freezing drizzle in parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Some 50,000 customers in Quebec and about 7,000 more in southwestern New Brunswick are still without power.
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