crystal beach ontario ice

Vicious Ontario storm coats entire beach town in thick layer of ice

Crystal Beach in Fort Erie, Ontario, is truly living up to its name this week as surreal pictures of "ice houses" formed by last week's massive winter snow storm circulate the world, prompting sentiments of disbelief, awe and concern.

The lakefront community of roughly 8,500 people was hit particularly hard by the storm in question thanks to its location on the very eastern edge of Lake Erie, right across from Buffalo, where more than 30 people are reported to have died as a result of the weather event.

Residents of the Niagara region town were warned well in advance of potential flooding, dangerous wind gusts in excess of 110 km/h, and heavy precipitation, but few could have predicted that Crystal Beach would actually appear crystallized by the time all was said and done.

Homes, vehicles, signs, benches and everything else that happened to be sitting on the shores of Lake Erie when the blizzard hit were blasted with monster waves on Friday, as chilling videos from the scene show.

Strong winds tossed rounds upon rounds of freezing water from Lake Erie upon the houses and cottages of Crystal Beach, coating them in layers of ice as the streets below filled with water.

The freezing lake spray left no surface untouched, freezing instantly upon contact and coating homes in up to a foot of ice by the accounts of some locals.

Thousands of people in the area — some 15,000 at one point, according to Canadian Niagara Power Inc. — were left without power as the storm bore down, knocking out electricity lines and sparking a state of emergency for the entire Niagara Region.

It wasn't until the storm had subsided, however, that the world got a good look at the beautiful mess it left behind.

To be honest, it looks like something out of a movie — one less white balanced and symmetrical than Disney's Frozen, but similar in theme.

Fort Erie and other locales along the lakefront continue to clean up from the storm, where possible, but the icing has thus far been pretty resilient. 

Lake Erie is calm now (frozen, to be specific.). Power has been restored to most. 

Fortunately, no (human) injuries have been reported as a result of the Crystal Beach crystallization. 

We can only hope on behalf that the flash freeze didn't completely destroy any homes or cottages... though property owners tell blogTO that it's still too early to tell.

Lead photo by

Nigel Hay

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