A ‘major snowstorm condition’ has been declared in Toronto. Here’s what that means


Ontarians spent most of the weekend digging out their buried cars and shoveling their driveways and sidewalks after a winter storm dropped up to 30 centimetres of snow on the province.

The storm caused power outages, as well as a rare event called ‘thundersnow,’ and lasted about 16 hours.

On Saturday, officials with the City of Toronto said they were declaring a “major snowstorm condition” in an effort to help remove snow from roads and sidewalks.

Here’s what you need to know:

When is a major snowstorm condition declared?

A major snowstorm condition is declared when at least five centimetres of snow has fallen, when snow removal operations need to take place, and when traffic or parking may impede the clearing of snow.

What does it mean?

It means the city will be prohibiting parking on “designated snow routes” to allow for crews to gather the snow and transport it to one of the city’s four dump sites. Drivers are being asked to move their cars and avoid parking in those areas.

What is a designated snow route?

The city has identified about 150 sections of road that will act as “designated snow routes.” They are primarily located in the downtown core and include all streetcar routes.

A City of Toronto map showing major storm condition designated snow routes.

The city has said that all routes will be clearly marked with an orange sign. A full list can be found on the city’s website.

What happens if I don’t move my car?

According to a news release issued by Toronto police, vehicles still parked along these routes may be subject to towing. Drivers may also be subject to a $200 fine.

Police say that impounded vehicles can be found at a lot at one of their tow companies.

How long will it last?

According to municipal code, the major snowstorm condition goes into effect for 72 hours. The city may end it earlier, but officials said Saturday it will likely be extended.

Has this happened before?

Yes. In January 2022, after a blizzard dropped nearly 50 centimetres of snow on the city, officials declared a major snowstorm condition. About 180,000 tonnes of snow was removed from Toronto’s roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths.

The cost of removing that snow was about $17 million, according to the city’s post operational report. This represented about 20 per cent of Toronto’s winter maintenance budget.

In November, the city revealed a $109-million winter weather plan, which included proactive salting and new snow response technology. It’s unclear how much this particular snow removal will cost.

Is more snow anticipated in Toronto?

No snowstorms are being forecast for this week by Environment Canada, however there is a 30 per cent chance of flurries daily until Tuesday night.

Share post:




More like this

Private prosecution in Lake Country woman’s death creeps forward

A former RCMP officer who believes that two...

Trudeau stayed in $6,000 London hotel suite for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Politics·NewThe Prime Minister's Office says Justin Trudeau and his...