The Ice Storm: An Historic Record in Photographs of January 1998


192 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 0-7710-6100-5
DDC 363.34'92





Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.


For most Canadians, the ice storm of January 1998 made for exciting
television viewing; for those who lived through it, it meant fallen
trees, damaged houses and cars, and no heat or light for anywhere from
six to 33 days. The ice storm affected 5 million people in Ontario,
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and parts of the northeastern United
States, resulted in 35 deaths, and cost more than $1.1 billion in
insurance claims. This large-format book, with text by Mark Abley of the
Montreal Gazette and more than 200 photographs by 53 press
photographers, captures the terrible beauty of the disaster.

Abley’s text combines narrative, description, scientific explanation,
and environmental commentary. The photographs testify to the saying that
one picture is worth a thousand words. Striking and evocative, they
capture a sense of people under siege, a sense underlined by the
presence of the military and the reservists who assisted Hydro workers.
Also captured are the farms, the animals, the trees, the “triangle of
darkness” in Quebec, and, above all, the civic spirit and camaraderie
of the victims.

If one needs reminders of this natural disaster, The Ice Storm is the
place to find them.


Abley, Mark., “The Ice Storm: An Historic Record in Photographs of January 1998,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,