City of Toronto plans snow removal operation to enhance safety

The City of Toronto will begin removing snow from neighbourhood and arterial streets at various times and locations over the next five to seven days. Dozens of crews working 12-hour shifts will use snow blowers, loaders and dump trucks to pick up and move snow to City storage facilities.

With temperatures forecast to remain cold for the next several days, and with the current snow and ice accumulation, staff will prioritize streets to ensure safety, including for emergency vehicles.

It may be necessary to engage in "friendly tows" starting early Saturday morning (between 6 to 7 a.m.) and continue as required. This will help make room for equipment to remove snow safely and effectively and it means that residents' cars may be towed to a nearby location. For those streets where snow removal will take place, signs will be posted in advance to advise the public.

According to Environment Canada, Toronto (per data from Toronto Pearson Airport) has received approximately 128 cm of snowfall this winter season (November 2018 to February 28, 2019). From January 1 to the end of February, 107.1 cm of snow fell in the city. The 20-year average for annual snowfall in Toronto is about 105 cm.

Including Wednesday's storm, Toronto has endured about a year's worth of winter precipitation (snowfall/ice and rain), combined with frequent periods of extreme wind and cold, over approximately six weeks. Another significant thawing period is not forecast until mid-March, based on available long-term weather forecasts.

Following storms this year, strategic/isolated snow removal efforts have taken place in some locations. Following the January 28 storm (when about 30 cm of snow fell), staff removed 250 km of snow to open catch basins, in preparation for above seasonal temperatures and thawing.

More information about the City's winter operations is available at

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