Governor General sees devastation — and resilience — of P.E.I. after Fiona

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon speaks with fisherman Allan Coady at the Covehead wharf on Sunday. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon speaks with fisherman Allan Coady at the Covehead wharf on Sunday. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

Canada's Governor General was on Prince Edward Island on Sunday to see with her own eyes the devastation caused by post-tropical storm Fiona, offer condolences and connect with some of the people most affected.

Mary Simon said she's read the stories and seen the images on TV, but seeing it in person gives her a better perspective when she discusses the situation with officials in Ottawa.

"It allows me to understand in a more concrete way what people are feeling now," she said.

"It's a way to convey their message on their behalf to people that make those decisions to support communities."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

The storm slammed the province on Sept. 24, knocking power out to about 80,000 homes and businesses, toppling thousands of trees and pushing coastal dunes back 10 metres in some areas.

Simon's visit comes more than a month after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew in to observe the damage and announce support.

"Sometimes it's good to go a bit later, a few weeks later after the storm because I think people are in a very rushed period in the beginning," Simon said.

She visited a few places along the north shore, including Shaw's Hotel and Cottages near Brackley Beach.

Owner Rob Shaw said the property suffered extensive damage, including a lost roof, several downed trees and a destroyed boathouse and barn.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"My problems are not unique," he said. "There's a lot of colleagues of mine in the hospitality industry that really got hit hard, too. It's good that officials from other parts of this country realize how hard P.E.I. had been hit by this storm."

Much of the cleanup and restoration is underway. Simon said she was struck by how well people have been coping.

"Talking to people, I find that people are very resilient and they come together during a crisis like this."