'The Cape Breton way': Condo residents band together after snow busts windows

Residents started shovelling outside of the ground-floor units and installed plywood over broken windows

Bedi Singh was in his Sydney, N.S., apartment early Sunday afternoon with his girlfriend playing video games when a day of boredom was suddenly interrupted.

Between the snow accumulating outside of his ground-floor unit and the snow coming down from the building's roof, the pressure on windows in his unit was so intense that they started bursting.

"I was just on my bed and it fall down and boom, the living room [window] went down, my room window gone. Then 10 minutes later boom, another gone. Then 10 minutes later boom, another gone," said Singh.

Cape Breton apartment snow/Bedi Singh/Facebook via CBC

This was the view Sunday afternoon from Bedi Singh's Sydney, N.S., apartment. Huge snowfall accumulated outside of his ground-floor unit and broke windows. The same thing happened to other units in the building. (Bedi Singh/Facebook)

RELATED: PHOTOS: Unusual snowstorm buries parts of the East Coast in 100 cm

Downtown Sydney was pummelled with 150 centimetres of snow during the winter storm that hit Nova Scotia this weekend. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is under a local state of emergency.

Singh said the snow almost reached the second-floor units at his building. He gathered up about a dozen of the Rotary Drive building's residents and they went outside to shovel in front of other ground-floor units to prevent more windows from bursting.

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Bedi Singh/Facebook via CBC

Singh says he and his girlfriend were playing video games in his bedroom when the snow came bursting in. (Bedi Singh/Facebook)

SEE ALSO: Lingering storm impacts spread into Newfoundland, schools close in St. John's

He and the others also covered around a half-dozen broken windows with plywood.

"It was just all people that lived in there, help each other, like, the Cape Breton way," he said.

Meanwhile in Whitney Pier, Marilyn Axworthy had the opposite problem. She said about a metre of snow had piled up against her home's door and she was feeling trapped.

"I felt like I was smothering in the house, like I had no way to get out," Axworthy told CBC Radio's Mainstreet Halifax on Monday.

So she decided to take matters into her own hands. She got out a hammer, a box, safety glasses and gloves — and was prepared to break the glass in the door.

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But when she took another look, she decided to use a pair of scissors to cut out the screen in the top of the door instead.

Bedi Singh/Facebook via CBC

Singh says the snow was so deep it came close to the second-floor units at his apartment building. (Bedi Singh/Facebook)

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Standing on a ladder and armed with two shovels, Axworthy hung out the top of the door and pushed the snow away. She was able to get the door open, but wasn't able to get much else cleared.

She said she wanted the peace of mind that she could get out if needed. "I can roll down the snow if I have to, or get a piece of cardboard and slide down," she said with a laugh.

At Michael Ludlow's home in Broughton, Cape Breton, the roof on one of his barns collapsed from the overwhelming amount of snow. He estimated there was two metres of snow on the steel roof.

"I got that much snow," he told CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton. "I don't know what to do."

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Ludlow said he has a backhoe on his property and there is so much snow that he can barely see it.


The 72-year-old said he's seen a lot of snow in his day, but nothing like this. He's also worried about the snow on the roof of his home, some of which tumbled off this weekend.

"It was just like an avalanche," he said. "You wouldn't believe it. Two o'clock in the morning, me and the wife jumped out of bed. I didn't know what the hell happened."

WATCH: See just how much snow fell in Atlantic Canada on the weekend

Kent and Deanna Peters of Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, run a stable with 38 horses. One snowdrift reached seven metres and they spent nine hours Sunday shovelling a path beside the barn.

Their horses aren't used to being cooped up, so the couple have been busy rotating them in and out of the barn.

Kent worked from the roof, while Deanna shovelled from the ground.

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"I'm gonna have rock-solid abs from this," Kent told CBC's News Network. "It's fantastic."

The story was originally written by Richard Woodbury and published for CBC News. It contains files from Information Morning Cape Breton and News Network.