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Residents in three provinces stay in dark as efforts continue to restore power

ABOVE: (Dec. 25, 2013) Thousands of people in Ontario and the Maritimes have been huddled in the cold for days in the wake of an ice storm that snapped trees and took down power lines. Christina Stevens reports.

TORONTO, Ontario – Tens of thousands of people in three provinces are anxious to receive a late Christmas gift today in the form of being able turn on their lights and heat.

Utility crews in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are spending a fifth day trying to restore power knocked out by last weekend’s ice storm.

READ MORE: Officials warn of CO poisoning risk as thousands still without power after ice storm

The storm hit parts of southern Ontario the hardest, including the Greater Toronto Area, where ice laden branches snapped off onto power lines.

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In Toronto alone, almost 70,000 customers remain without power, down from a peak of 300,000.

Hydro One, which serves 1.3 million customers in Ontario, has about 15,000 customers still without power and smaller power companies say more than 5,000 of their clients are still lacking electricity.

In Quebec, some 8,400 customers were without electricity, primarily in the Eastern Townships, while more than 18,000 homes and businesses in New Brunswick remained off the grid.

READ MORE: Manitoba Hydro volunteers head to Ontario on Christmas Eve

Both Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have maintained a high profile with public appearances Christmas Day.

They’ll do so again today by holding news conferences to update the repair effort and Wynne will also visit a suburban shelter for those still without electricity.

As hydro crews working non-stop to restore power, utility companies continue to caution that some customers might have to wait until the weekend to get their power back.

READ MORE: 200,000 hydro customers still without power but ‘things are improving,’ Rob Ford says

WATCH: Ice storm hits Maritimes, Quebec

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