Toronto declares 'major snow storm condition' to aid cleanup after winter storm | CBC News (2023)

The City of Toronto has declared what it calls a "major snowstorm condition" to ensure its crews can remove the snow on city streets left by a winterstorm on Monday.

Mayor John Tory saidthe declarationmeansparking isprohibited for 72 hours ondesignated snow routes. Such routes are primarily in the downtown core and include all streetcar routes. All are clearly signed.

Anyone who parkson a designated snow route during a major snow event could be finedup to $200.The snowstorm conditioncould be in place longer than the normal 72 hours.

Tory said the declarationisnecessary because of thequantity of snow that fell on Mondayand the impact it could have on public safety. He said the snowfallwas "extraordinary" for the city.Vehicles left on snow routes can receive "a friendly tow," he said, noting that could happen on local roads as well.

"I will just say that we are doing our best in a challenging situation that is more challenging than normal," Tory told reporters at a news briefing on Monday afternoon.

Snowfall brokedaily record at Pearsonfor Jan. 17

Downtown Toronto had received 36 centimetres of snow by 2 p.m. on Monday, according to a summary from theOntario Storm Prediction Centre. Ottawa, meanwhile, received 45 centimetres of snow.

The snowfall recorded atToronto Pearson International Airport on Monday— 32 centimetres— broke a daily record for Jan. 17, according to Environment Canada.The previous daily record at Pearson was set in 1994, when 7.6 centimetres of snow fell.

Thesummary said the snowfall amounts reported at Toronto Pearson International Airport and Ottawa International Airport fell within the Top 10 highest snowfall totals reported in a single snowfall event.

The last time Toronto saw a storm with more than25 centimetreswas in 2019.The last time there was more than30 centimetreswas in 2008.

Toronto'slargest single-day snowfall, recorded at Pearson Airport, was 45.5 centimetres in February 1965.

Toronto declares 'major snow storm condition' to aid cleanup after winter storm | CBC News (1)

Ray Houle, a severe weather meteorologist for Environment Canada, called Monday's storm a"significant" weather event.

"The general consensus around here is that it was a pretty historic storm. Not veryoften do we get a stormthat brings snowfall amounts and blizzard-like conditions like that to the Golden Horseshoe and the GTA," said Houle.

"I thought it was pretty significant —it was once-in-a-decade kind of storm."

(Video) Sunny weather aids Ontario storm cleanup after heavy snowfall

On Monday night, Toronto Hydro reported scattered power outages across the city.It said restoration efforts may be affected by current weather conditions.

Meanwhile, local authorities are urging Toronto residentsto continue to limit travel after the stormforcedroad closures and a delay to in-person learning forstudents.

"Residents are encouraged to stay home during and after this snowfall," the city said in a news release on Monday.

"Road users should expect delays, slippery conditions and poor visibility. If driving, slow down, follow at a safe distance, and use gentle braking, steering and acceleration."

On Monday night, four GTAschool boards all announced via Twitter that their schools wouldalso be closed to in-person learning on Tuesday, including Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Peel District School Board and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

Students that fall under the Peel boards will move to remote learning for the day.The TDSB said "students will not participate in live remote or virtual learning," while the TCDSBsaid it would only offerasynchronous learning.

Toronto declares 'major snow storm condition' to aid cleanup after winter storm | CBC News (2)

For several hours on Mondaymorning, the weather agency upgraded its winter storm warning to a blizzard warning;the snowfall started to taper off around noon and the warning was then downgraded and later lifted.

Environment Canada had warned thatthe stormcould cause serious problems in dense urban areas andhazardousconditions, with heavy snow and strong winds resulting in "widespread near-zero visibility."

A blizzard warning means the agency expects at least four hours with visibility that is 400 metres or less andwinds of at least 40 kilometres per hour, said Steven Flisfeder, lead meteorologist with Environment Canada.

In comparison, a winter storm warning means a forecast of more than 25 centimetres of snow within 24 hours, along with other criteria, such as blowing snow and reduced visibility, he said.

PSA: It’s not fun out here. Stay home people. <a href=""></a>


Snow started coming down overnight on Sunday, with several centimetres quickly accumulatingin much of Toronto and surrounding areas. By Monday afternoon, cars and transit vehicleswere getting stuck throughout the city.

(Video) CIty of Toronto declares 'major snowstorm condition' as cleanup begins

Shortly after 10:15 a.m. ET, Toronto police announcedthetemporary closure ofthe Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, two of the city's major arteries. Those roadways have now fully reopened.

Cadillac Fairviewalso announced it wouldbe closing the Eaton Centre at 4 p.m.due to inclement weather.

The winter stormwasdue to a strong low-pressure system tracking south of the Great Lakes, Environment Canada said.

Meanwhile on Queen West in Toronto just past Dufferin Street. <br><br>Four busses are stuck in the snow. <br><br>The drivers are standing outside of their busses directing traffic. Quite the scene here. <a href=""></a>


City issues extreme cold weather alert

The City of Toronto alsoissued an extreme cold weather alert on Monday, prompting the activation of the following warming centres. The centres were to open at 7 p.m.:

  • 129 Peter St.
  • 5800 Yonge St.
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes' Blvd.
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.

Other parts of Ontario were hit even harder than the Greater Toronto Area.The heaviest snowfall wasforecastfor eastern Ontario,the Niagara Peninsulaand parts of Simcoe County.

OPP reports dozens of collisions

Snowy road conditions hadled to dozens of collisions throughout the GTA, said​Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the highway safety division of the Ontario Provincial Police.

"We've been going from call to call with this kind of situation—vehicles spinning out, losing control, either getting caught in the snowbanks, getting caught on the windrows and ending up in the ditch or into the wall,"Schmidt told CBC News.

"You can't even see the road markings. It's treacherous with lots of blowing snow out here."

WATCH |A day to stay off the roads, Ontario police officer says:

Toronto declares 'major snow storm condition' to aid cleanup after winter storm | CBC News (3)

A day to stay off the roads, Ontario police officer says

1 year ago

Duration 3:48

(Video) Snowstorm cleanup underway in Toronto
Saying driving conditions are 'treacherous' in southern Ontario due to a major winter storm, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police asked drivers to stay off the roads until the snow stops falling.

Schmidt had said the snow was slowly dissipating on Highway 401 but there wasstill lots to work through.

"It's crippling the highways. Now the plows can't even get through the highways because we've got stopped traffic everywhere."

The OPP advisedanyone who can to stay home.

"Stay off the highways as best you canuntil the snow stops falling," said Schmidt. "Let the plows do their work to clean the highways, then we'll get back onto the roads."

(Video) State of emergency declared after fierce storm hits southern Ontario

The TTCwarnedits customers to expect delays on bus and streetcar routes as a result of the road conditions.

All bus and streetcar routes are affected by snow covered roadways. Customers will experience longer than normal wait and travel times.


The City of Toronto has600 snowplows, 300 sidewalk plowsand 200 salt trucks working to clear the roads, according to its website.

Some boards closedschools, cancelledbuses

Earlier on Monday, the snowfall added a wrinkle to Ontario's already-contentious school reopening plan. Students across the province were supposed to return to schoolfor in-person classes today after two weeks of virtual learning following the winter holidays.

  • 'Just trying to remain calm': Some stuck on Highway 401 in Toronto for more than 8 hours as storm wallops city

The Toronto District and Toronto Catholic District School Boardscancelled the planned return to in-class learning on Mondaybecause of the weather, instead offering the option of remote learning.

Similar announcements were made by York Region andDufferin-Peel Catholic district school boards, along withboth the public and Catholic boards in Halton,though remote learning was not offered as an option.

A full list of closurescan be found here.

All Toronto Public Library branches wereclosedMonday due to the weather conditions.

Toronto declares 'major snow storm condition' to aid cleanup after winter storm | CBC News (4)

Vaccine clinics shut down for the day

Vaccination clinics in Toronto, Peel and York regions were also forced to shutter as a result of the worsening weather.

"With the significant snowfall continuing today, all vaccination appointments are being cancelled to ensure the safety of Toronto residents and staff," Toronto Public Health (TPH) said in a news release.

The health unit said anyone with a scheduled appointment on Monday should have received direct communication from TPHto let them know it has been cancelled.

(Video) Snow forecast increased, blizzard conditions expected in southern Ontario with major storm

TPH is encouraging everyone to rebook their vaccine appointments, as a result of the cancellation.

Similarly, all Peel and York Region Public Health-led COVID-19 vaccination clinics werecancelled and health units are also asking everyone impacted to rebook their appointments.


Is there a snow storm coming to Toronto this week? ›

Snow and Ice Outlook

There are currently no active snow events at this location. Visit our Winter Center page to see which locations within the United States or Canada are currently being impacted by snow events.

When did the army clear snow in Toronto? ›

North American blizzard of 1999, when the Canadian army was called into Toronto to clear the snow.

What is the deepest snow ever recorded in the world? ›

Greatest Snow Depth on Record: 451 Inches

Tamarack, California, also holds the U.S. record for the greatest snow depth ever measured. A maximum snow depth of 451 inches, or 37.5 feet, was recorded there on March 11, 1911, according to Burt.

What is the most snow ever recorded in Toronto? ›

Since then, the most amount of snow to land in one day at Toronto is 48.3 centimetres (19.0 inches) on December 11, 1944. Since 2003 the snowfall extremes were measured at Toronto Pearson International Airport.


1. "Thundersnow" winter storm slams Toronto-area
(Global News)
2. Powerful winter storm grounds flights in Toronto amid power outages, school closures
(Global News)
3. Winter storm dumps up to 30 cm of snow throughout the GTA overnight
(CBC News)
4. Toronto sees 'thundersnow' in winter storm
5. Toronto bracing for new winter storm that could dump up to 30 cm of snow
6. Toronto is bracing for the arrival of another winter storm


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