WINNIPEG -- The lights are back on and Portage la Prairie, Man., is open for business once again after last week’s massive snow storm paralyzed the city -- and residents are finding creative ways to thank those who helped get the community up and running.

"Thirteen thousand people, plus all of our businesses were out of power," said Cindy McDonald, executive director of the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce.

"It was truly a surreal feeling and experience."

Getting the power back on required long hours from Manitoba Hydro. 

Crews from Minnesota, along with many others from Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta dropped everything and raced to the province to help repair the many power lines that went down. 

"Quality of life is about having power in your house," said Dean Erdman from Minnesota Power. 

"And if you don't have it, you're lost. So we want to get that back to the people."

And the people of Portage said they are grateful for these efforts. 

"I can only imagine what they are having to work through," said Portage La Prairie Fire Chief Phil Carpenter. 

"Some very large steel structures have collapsed. They're doing an excellent job."

Signs have gone up thanking the hydro workers for their efforts.

Cindy McDonald is spearheading an effort to say thank you in a very visible way – with a poster.

“We have it in our window," said McDonald. "And we're encouraging everyone to put signs up just to say thank you to those hydro workers."