On September 24, 2022, PEI changed forever.
Post-Tropical Storm Fiona — one of the strongest in Canadian history — swept across Atlantic Canada, destroying homes and other structures, leaving thousands of days without power and destroying entire forests and coastlines. On PEI, the storm changed everything.
CBC’s Nicola MacLeod has looked at how Fiona influenced the island – and its people – in a four-part series, Modified by Fiona.
Check out the videos created for the series and related articles.
1. How Fiona changed the island landscape
With the arrival of spring, researchers and biologists are heading out again to examine the damage from the post-tropical storm and find out what comes next.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the county focused on safety on the land it controlled, removing poorly placed debris and clearing trees that posed a public danger before winter set in.
Only now are officials beginning to shift focus to planning for the future.
2. How island farmers build better than before
The storm hit virtually every corner of the island’s agricultural sector — damaging buildings and crops, inundating land and taking away tracts of coastal farmland.
While it may seem challenging to look for silver linings, farmers and industry leaders agree that Fiona has shown people the power of natural disasters and how preparedness can make a difference.
And the industry will never go back to how it used to be.
3. A very different PEI for tourists
PEI tour operators have been working hard to get their shops, restaurants, accommodations and attractions ready for the 2023 season. But visitors will see a changed landscape compared to years past.
The impact of the storm – including nearly bare fields where trees once stood and nearly wiped out dune systems – cannot be hidden from visitors or fixed with a coat of paint.
The PEI Tourism Industry Association says climate and environmental awareness will become an important topic for the future industry.
4. How Fiona Changed Islanders
The deep psychological impact Fiona left behind may be less apparent than the damage to buildings and landscape, but for many who lived through the storm – and the days that followed – the emotional toll is no less real.
Some islanders were without power for weeks while also grappling with unplanned financial charges, insurance claims for property damage, problems accessing assistance and poor cell coverage.
Panic when the power goes out, a shiver at the sound of wind howling, a wave of sadness at the sight of a beloved landmark forever changed. These are just some of the scars left by Fiona.