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Canada doesn't mess around in the winter time – and a nasty ice storm in the country's biggest city proves that we Americans bow to that country's hardiness in the face of remarkably bad weather (and, occasionally, naughty politicians).

While Los Angeles bemoaned a cold snap a few weeks ago that caused temperatures to drop to a frankly balmy 50 F, the temperatures in Toronto feel like 15 F, with high winds snapping thick branches from trees and knocking out huge swaths of power as an overnight shard-storm of freezing rain left dense sheets of ice that have locked up transit and closed off roads. Toronto Hydro is reporting that 250,000 people are without power in what they're calling the worst ice storm in the city's history, and it's possible that many won't have power back in time for Christmas. Two hospitals have been affected by the blackout, and a major one is on emergency reserves.

It has also made for some pretty stunning photos, with trees flash-frozen in gleaming ice:

And just when you thought it was impossible for Toronto's crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford to bumble his way through anything else, think again. Ford initially angered emergency workers by urging citizens to call 911 for every downed power line in Toronto. Emergency crews went against the mayor, telling citizens to only call in the case of a, well, real emergency.

The city is considering whether or not to call a state of emergency, which would be the first true test of Toronto's new political frontier, having stripped the mayor of all his powers (including those in an emergency) and giving them to his deputy mayor, Norm Kelly, instead. Policy-wise, Ford would be the one to call the state of emergency, which would then give Kelly all his powers. He has not yet called for it.

He also gave a press conference alongside Kelly where he explained that his well-to-do family might have to find a hotel to stay at.

It is as yet unclear whether the Toronto ice storm is in any way related to the city having a hilarious mayor.  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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