Capturing the “Icepocalypse” in story and image



Gauthier photographs the ice storm in Caledon, ON

While lights flickered and faded in homes across the GTA this holiday season, students’ camera’s flashed, capturing stills of a frozen world. Downed wires, chilled houses, cold water, the crack and quake of ice and tree limb all characterize an end to 2013. A new year and new semester at Sheridan begins with questions that lightly touch on holiday routine and heavily assume icy anecdotal answers.

Meaghan Johnson, 19, a second year York Sheridan Design student, found herself ill prepared for the “Icepocalypse of 2013,” as her gas fireplace broke only two days before her home in Newcastle lost power.

Her family had another one on the main floor so 44 hours without power was simply “a breeze,” said Johnson.

And a disguised blessing. “It forced us to spend time with humans instead of technology, and to even go outside,” said Johnson. She described the scenery in her backyard as beautiful and eerily quiet.

It is this beauty that excited and shocked Dave Fink, 27, a first year Social Service Worker student. His homes in downtown Toronto, and Niagara Falls kept their electricity so his conscience was pricked for the pleasure he felt in viewing the winter wonderland.

Although he felt a sense of vulnerability, Fink was interested in the storm and amazed at the power it had to destroy trees and power systems.

“That was my experience. Amazed. Shocked. Joy. Curiosity. Guilt. Helplessness.”

Kyle Toth, 21, a Media Fundamentals student from Oakville, recognizes this feeling. He has sympathy for the people who lost power and had Christmas Eve and Christmas day in the dark, but reasons that a storm “is nature and you can’t change anything about it.”

Toth says some people were freaking out about the storm and being over dramatic, especially in regards to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford handing out warm food to communities affected most by the ice storm.

Residents of a Toronto community housing building on McCowan Avenue criticized the Mayor for the lack of electricity and his lack of action at a barbecue held on their behalf.

“The people demanding that he fix the power in return is one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen,” says Toth.

By the time Chandler Gauthier, 21, a second year York Sheridan Design student and her family reached their 96th hour of no hydro, water, or coffee, she matches her enthusiasm to the splintered trees around her property in Caledon.

Annual viewings of Home Alone, carols on the radio, lights on the tree, Christmas day baking, perusing and posting online Christmas photos was all replaced with five layers of sweaters, the overcrowding of a solitary heater and the melting of snow by fire for a “polar bear-dip” shower.

And yet, however archaic her Christmas was, Gauthier credits her first world problems for a different gift this season.

“Our Christmas may have been postponed for a few more days, and our tree and property may be a sad reminder of why, but it was a small confrontation of what the reason for the season really is. Strip away all the embellishment, the gifts and the traditions and deliver us a (very large) Jack Frost, I’ll be the first to agree Christmas is

Check out ice photography by Chandler Gauthier, Dave FInk, Kyle Toth, Meaghan Johnson, Kevin Bryan, Sahil Ghai and Ed Whelan