The Deadly Tornado at Big Rideau Lake (NOT IN ECCC RECORD)

Sudden tornado kills 1, injures 5, destroys houseboat, cottages damaged

This tornado was originally confirmed by experts at Environment Canada but later downgraded in the mid 2000s to a possible rating due to insufficient evidence of a narrow path of damage. However, research at Highway and Hailstones has concluded that a confined 300m wide and 3km long swath of tree damage did occur at the location. This 10:1 length to width ratio is congruent with tornado damage.

The tornado likely touched down about 400m north of Bass Bay, between it and Bass Bay Road. Here it is estimated 5 acres of forest was flattened. It continued in a southeast direction to the shore of the lake at the end of the road. Around this location, a few cottages were damaged and a large percentage of the trees on Clarke Island were blown down.

As the tornado continued out onto the lake, it struck a houseboat rented by three couples about 60m from shore. Looking on in shock, nearby cottagers witnessed the tornado strike the boat, pick it up and flip it over multiple times. During this ordeal, a 40-year-old woman inside struck her head which knocked her unconscious, sadly killing her. The five others were badly bruised but managed to keep afloat amongst the boat debris. Quickly aided by the onlooking cottagers, they were brought to safety in three separate boats.

1km out over the lake the tornado struck Long Island and Colonel By Island, leaving behind a distinct 300m wide blowdown. It also passed over a small unnamed island to the southeast which had most of its trees downed.

It is believed the tornado dissipated quickly afterward over the lake, after traveling about 3km.