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Cottage country hit with power outage ahead of long weekend

Last Updated May 19, 2017 at 1:46 pm EDT

A Hydro One crew at work in an undated file photo. HANDOUT/Hydro One

A large power outage is affecting areas outside of Toronto including cottage country, just as many people are planning to head up north for the Victoria Day long weekend.

As of 12:48 p.m., Hydro One said there are 324 outages affecting more than 25,000 customers after Thursday’s thunderstorms and powerful winds.

The affected areas include pockets of Orillia, as well as Renfrew, Minden, Bracebridge and Huntsville. Click here for the outage map.

It is not yet known when power will be fully restored.

“We are still seeing significant damage in the area,” Hydro One spokeswoman Nancy Clark told Breakfast Television on Friday.

She said hydro crews from outside of cottage country will be helping restore power.

“Towards the end of the night, we’ll have a better idea of how many customers will continue to be [without power] for an extended period of time,” she said.

More than 60,000 customers were without power on Thursday, primarily in cottage country north of Toronto on a line from Parry Sound to the Quebec border.

Power outages were also reported in Quebec and New Brunswick.

At one point, Hydro-Quebec was reporting more than 66,000 outages, with about half of them in the Laurentians north of Montreal and about 8,000 each in Western Quebec and in the Montreal area.

NB Power in New Brunswick was reporting at least 6,000 outages and some structural damage due to “sudden thunderstorms,” primarily on the island of Lameque and in the Shippigan and Caraquet areas.

OPP out in full force this weekend

As hydro crews deal with restoring power in cottage country, provincial police say they’ll be focusing on the so-called big four as officers patrol during the holiday weekend.

The big four refer to impaired, inattentive and aggressive driving as well as lack of seat belt use. The OPP says they account for the majority of motor vehicle collision fatalities across the province.

They say the coming weekend is traditionally one of the busiest long weekends on Canadian roads.

If you are staying in the city this weekend, click here for a list of events, what’s open and closed, as well as TTC and road closures.