snow removal toronto

Toronto removed 45,000 tonnes of snow in city's largest removal operation ever

There's a good chance your streets and sidewalks are looking a whole lot clearer as cleanup continues after a historic mid-January blizzard buried the city in 55 cm of snow over just 15 hours.

Sure, people are still unhappy about extended blockages to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, but the latest snow removal figures show the city is hard at work to correct these issues.

On Thursday afternoon, Toronto Transportation Services General Manager Barbara Gray updated the city on continued cleanup efforts, sharing that a staggering 45,000 tonnes of snow had been removed from city roads, sidewalks and bike lanes since the blizzard struck on Jan. 17.

It wasn't just any storm either, with the blizzard dropping more snow that day than the city received during the combined totals recorded during the months of January, February, and March 2021

It's being hailed as the largest snow removal operation in Toronto history; the weight of snow removed as of Thursday afternoon weighs about two-fifths as much as The CN Tower, and is equivalent to the weight of over 1,350 TTC subway trains. This unbelievable volume of snow was carried off in approximately 14,000 truckloads.

If that sounds like a lot, then hold on to your hats, as the city intends to remove at least another 40,000 tonnes/13,500 truckloads by next Thursday, almost doubling the among removed. That would bring the total snow removed to over seven-tenths of the CN Tower's weight of 117,910 tonnes.

This 24/7 operation has seen snow removal completed on 193 of the city's major streets along with 241 local roads and 306 school loading zones. This adds up to approximately 700 kilometres of road, or the distance (by air) between Toronto and Chicago.

With buses freed from the snow and many arterial roads cleared to allow for emergency vehicles, work continues with the focus now being placed on sidewalks and local roads, as well as school zones.

It's not a simple job, with extended cold weather having frozen the snowbanks into solid blocks of ice. Traditional plows have been struggling with the task, as the clearance requires the use of heavy equipment, including front-end loaders and dump trucks.

And while the amount of snow removed is impressive, it's likely no consolation to the countless cyclists and pedestrians, who are still contending with impassable bike lanes and blocked sidewalks long after the storm passed.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture


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