With snowbanks well over a metre high and drifted snow packed hard by the wind, Niagara-on-the-Lake residents spent hours Monday digging out from the overnight snow storm and blizzard.
It made for a lonnnnng day for people like Joseph Neufeld, who was out around NOTL with his snowblower, clearing the drives and walkways of some regular customers.
Neufeld, 28, owns Imperial Horticulture and toiled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m digging people out.
What started as simply helping his regulars turned into an all-day affair as other people saw him and his sister Sarah-Joy clearing neighbouring properties – and wanted theirs done, too.
For a small fee, Neufeld was happy to oblige and folks were elated they didn't have to spend hours heaving the heavy snow.
Armed with a shovel, Sarah-Joy, a full-time nurse at the St. Catharines hospital, regularly helps out her big brother.
She said doing some physical labour is “a great release and way to de-stress” after working shifts at the hospital and dealing with the ongoing COVID pandemic.
It's also a great way to connect with people in the community, she said.
Her brother agreed, noting, many of his regular customers are seniors so he's “glad we were able to help people clear all that snow. We love meeting and working with people.”
The Niagara College horticulture grad said he was inspired to launch his company by his dad John, also a horticulturist, who used to work at Mori Gardens in NOTL.
In the summer, Neufeld does a lot of work with gardening coach Joanne Young (The Lake Report's gardening columnist) and employs a number of seasonal staff in the warm months.
For now, though, it's just him (with some occasional sisterly help). And on Tuesday he was out again, clearing driveways and helping finish the big dig.