Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec's Historic Flooding Forcing Residents to 'Discover Our Neighbours'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec's Historic Flooding Forcing Residents to 'Discover Our Neighbours'

Article excerpt

Quebecers smiling despite historic flooding

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DEUX MONTAGNES, Que. - As Liz Smart sat in a canoe outside her Montreal-area home, surrounded by several feet of water, she joked about having to make sure her husband's ashes were kept on high ground.

"I know it's morbid but it's the truth," she mused in an interview Tuesday. "He built this house 10 years ago -- in three months. He was a master plumber. I was like, 'out of all the times I need you here!' He could have come in handy."

It took only a few hours Sunday morning for the water in Smart's basement in Deux-Montagnes to reach just below the first floor. Nonetheless, she was in relatively good spirits being transported around the neighbourhood by her friend James Taylor in his rented canoe.

"When my husband died (a year ago) I was very alone; it was a very lonely time," Smart said. "This is a collective. People are smiling. They are putting things into perspective -- your wealth is your health."

Not far away, the water was acting like a moat around Sylvie Briere's flooded stone house but that didn't prevent her from emphasizing the positive.

"The solidarity is incredible," she said. "We have discovered our neighbours."

Briere said she and her neighbours spent Saturday night together building a wall of sand with the help of concrete blocks that were transported to the end of her street by another resident.

By 5 a.m. Sunday she was awoken by a knock at her door and the news the water had burst over their makeshift dam.

"There is no one to blame," she said, her voice quivering. "When this is over we all decided were going to have a block party. My stepson has a food truck and he's going to give everyone ice cream."

Roughly 130 homes are flooded in the community of 20,000, prompting the mayor to declare a state of emergency on Monday that allows municipal authorities to buy supplies quickly without having to go through the normal tendering process. …

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