Thirty years ago, tornadoes swept across the region, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation.

In Barrie, the most powerful tornado hit that day, with winds topping 400 km/ h. By the end of it all, Environment Canada says 14 tornadoes hit central Ontario that day during a six hour period.

The first tornado, an F-2, touched down briefly in Hopeness in the middle of the Bruce Peninsula at 3 p.m. Just over an hour later, another F-2 touched down in Hopeville, just northwest of Shelburne.

Then at 4:15 p.m. a deadly F-4 tornado with winds between 330 km/h and 410 km/h hit Grand Valley. At exactly the same time an F-3 tornado hit Alma, just northwest of Fergus.

Within minutes, another F-3 tornado touched down in Corbetton, northwest of Melancthon. At 4:50 p.m. an F-2 tornado touched down in Lisle, just west of Base Borden. Seven minutes later, there was another touchdown, this one an F-1 just a little farther east.

Then at 5 p.m. a powerful F-4 tornado hit Barrie, touching down in an industrial area, rolling across Highway 400 and up into neighbourhoods before blowing out over Kempenfelt Bay.

An F-2 at Wagner Lake in Uxbridge, another in the Village of Reaboro southeast of Lindsay just after 6 p.m. Twenty minutes later, south of that in Ida, another one struck – at the same time the storm formed another F-2 tornado further east at Rice Lake.

Another F-2 hit just after 6:30 p.m. a little further east at Minto, north of Trenton. The final tornado that day was recorded at 8:10 p.m. at Grippen Lake, northeast of Kingston.

In all, 12 people were killed, including eight in Barrie, two people in Grand Valley, and two people in Tottenham. More than 150 people were injured, a thousand buildings were destroyed or damaged, and lives were changed forever. 

It was one of the worst tornadoes to ever hit central Ontario and, in fact, there hasn’t been a tornado as strong as the ones that hit Barrie and Grand Valley since that day.