tanks toronto

Train full of military tanks spotted rolling through Toronto gives highway drivers a shock

Anyone watching the news or doom scrolling their social feeds during Russia's invasion of Ukraine has almost certainly encountered unsettling images of tank columns rolling through cities. On Friday, that distant reality got a little too close to home for commuters on the country's busiest highway.

Two short clips emerged showing a genuinely surreal sight, a train packed with heavily armoured military vehicles entering Toronto from the east.

The video was captured from a car travelling westbound on Highway 401 between Whites Road and Liverpool Road, just east of Toronto near Pickering GO station, showing the train laden with tanks moving west on a rail bridge over the highway.

Developed for the German ground forces, the Leopard 2A4 is the main battle tank of several NATO countries, Canadian Armed Forces operating a relatively unintimidating fleet of just 82 Leopard 2 tanks.

Canada has not, as of yet, announced any plans to send any of these tanks overseas as part of its ongoing role in Operation REASSURANCE, a continuing NATO deployment in Central and Eastern Europe.

So if the tanks aren't headed off to bolster NATO preparedness in Europe, what gives?

Of all the things one can expect to see on a highway commute through Toronto, a train loaded with tanks is not one of them. But there's always an explanation, and blogTO reached out to the Canadian Forces to learn where these war machines are really headed and why.

According to a Forces representative, the tanks are not being shipped east, but actually west, saying, "In preparation for Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2022, the largest annual Canadian Army training exercise, we are moving military vehicles by rail for transportation to Wainwright, Alberta."

The exercise will run from May 1-11, involving approximately 2,500 Canadian Armed Forces personnel.

Courtney Dobbs, who captured the video, tells blogTO that her initial reaction to the sight of the tanks was that of shock, saying, "it's definitely not something you see every day."

"With everything going on in the world, it's quite scary to see something like this in front of you," said Dobbs, adding, "we have been holding onto a lot of fear and unanswered questions. I think everyone's just looking for answers and reassurance."

Just like the military drill taking place this weekend on Toronto's subway, or an Amber Alert that had some thinking the end was near, it's fair to be a bit jumpy these days, but it's best to not assume the worst.

Lead photo by

@courtneyydobbs


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