Kelly Buchanan took shelter in the basement of her restaurant when the tornado tore through the area a year ago.
"I came up the stairs...sorry...I just kind of stood there and looked at everything, and couldn't get over that everything was gone," Buchanan said.
The Goderich Grill has now reopened, as have most of business that were forced to close because of storm damage, CBC's Genevieve Tomney reports.
The F3 twister that ripped through the community on the shores of Lake Huron was the most powerful to hit the province in years and claimed the life of a salt mine worker.
Goderich Mayor Deb Shewfelt says he hopes today's commemoration will help bring closure to the community, which is a popular tourist destination.
"For six months after the tornado, I think a lot of us walked around with a pain in our stomach," Shewfelt said. "That pain's gone because we're seeing every time a business opens it's a lift to the community."
Many buildings have been restored and businesses have reopened, yet some say the town dubbed one of Canada's prettiest communities will never be the same.
"It's been...not a good year," said Bill Bell, who lost his home to the tornado and then lost his job. He's still fighting with his insurance company over the cost of rebuilding.
Closure will be hard-won for those devastated by the storm, and Kelly Buchanan said she's still working on it.
"It still makes me cry, and it makes me think how incredibly lucky I am," she said.
There will be several events held in Goderich today to mark the anniversary, including an unveiling of an appreciation wall dedicated to the emergency workers, volunteers and donors who helped the community. There will also be a tribute to the salt miner who was killed when the tornado hit.