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Pair of long-time Dunrobin businesses still reeling in wake of tornado

Owners of the Dunrobin Meat and Grocer and the Heart and Soul Cafe feel lucky that no one lost their lives during the storm, and have been happy to see the community come together to rebuild.
2018-09-21 tornado damage dunrobin
Storm damage at Dunrobin Meat and Grocer plaza following severe storm. Photo/ Tom Smetana

A couple Dunrobin-area staple businesses continue to pick up the pieces after a violent storm, which produced EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes.

Both Dunrobin Meat and Grocer and the Heart and Soul Cafe have been part of the community for almost 30 years.

The roof of Dunrobin Meat and Grocer almost completely caved in Friday evening. 

Mike Fines is married to co-owner Julie Dalahunt, and he was working in the liquor store side of the mall when the storm hit. 

Fines told 1310 NEWS' Ottawa Today, he got most people into a beer cooler just before a tornado ran through the area and described the aftermath. 

"We opened the door, and the whole chiropractor office which was next door to us had pushed right through, and all the liquor store had pushed over to one side. So we had maybe a foot and a half of clearance, of area to walk through," explained Fines. "We walked these people out, got everybody out the front of the building, but all the windows were smashed out of the mall other than one window, which was the front of the liquor store."

Listen to the full conversation with Fines:

One woman had been trapped in the entranceway of the store, while another man suffered minor injuries to his head. Fines said his sister-in-law had been pinned down by the meat counter and later discovering shards of glass in her back. 

Meanwhile, the yurt which contained a gift shop run by the Heart and Soul Cafe was completely blown away in Friday's storm. 

Heart and Soul Owner Jim Bowen told 1310 NEWS' Ottawa Today, his son lived above the cafe, and was home when the storm hit. 

"He almost lost it," said Bowen. "They had to close their door, or the top floor of this place would have probably departed. Because there is a stairwell, it would have been a chimney effect, and the force of the wind would have gone straight up and probably have taken the top floor off."

Listen to the full conversation with Jim Bowen and his daughter Sara:

The cafe owner added, "He was pretty freaked out, but he stood up because, I mean he was the one who called us at the height of the storm and told us the gift shop was gone. But he kept it together and once the storm had passed he immediately headed down the road and started helping people get out of collapsed houses."

Bowen said neighbours have been helping neighbours since the storm passed. Malwood Aggregate stepped in immediately to help to get trees cut down. 

He also credited the Ottawa Police Service for locking down the neighbourhood to ensure that everyone's property remained safe. 


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Village Media Community Editor,
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