Environment Canada has confirmed a tornado that blew apart homes in Elie, Manitoba this summer was an F-5 - the strongest in Canadian history.

Spokesman Dave Carlson says after reviewing videotape of the twister, Environment Canada has determined the tornado packed winds upwards of 400 klometres an hour - strong enough to toss around cars and houses and standblast the bark off trees.

It is the first F-5 in Canadian history.

Others, such as the twister that killed 27 people in Edmonton in 1987, were in the F-4 category with winds of less than 400 kilometres an hour.

The Elie twister did not claim any lives, as residents scrambled to take cover, but destroyed many buildings and forced 19 people to relocate.