A street-side canvas set up by a Burlington, ON resident gave a whole new meaning to the word â€˜watercolor.’ The city was caught in a flash flood in August 2014, and the canvas was one way a particular neighborhood helped each other cope.
by Grace Van Mil, Samaritan’s Purse
A large art canvas caught my eye as I walked down a street in Burlington, Ontario that had been under several feet of water. Titled “Burlington Flood 2014,” the canvas was propped up against a vehicle and there was a container nearby that had some permanent markers in it.
There was also a notice inviting passersby to sign their names or leave encouraging messages for residents of this flood-affected neighborhood.
Briar Emond, a local artist who lives on the waterlogged street, set up the flood-damaged canvas she rescued from her basement and watched as it became a kind of community encouragement board.
“It was a raging, muddy torrent of water,” said Emond, explaining what it was like for residents to receive about two month’s worth of rainfall in a few hours on August 4. “The street was submerged.”
She went on to describe the influx of sewer water that many area residents experienced. “It was like a geyser through the shower downstairs, and the toilet blew the lid right up. [It came] through the sink and the laundry drain…it was dramatic.”
Many residents had only 10 minutes from the time they first started experiencing flooding until basements and yards flooded.
Deeply concerned for her neighbors during the flooding, Emond said, “For the seniors across the street-it was terrifying. We couldn’t get across the street. The current was so strong and there were large pieces of lumber floating by.
Emond was glad to hear about the work Samaritan’s Purse was doing on behalf of those most in need after Burlington’s flash flood. “It is so much worse for so many families that don’t have any coverage, or very limited coverage,” she said. “Those people are going to be dealing with this on a whole other level, for a very long time.”