Snow removal (picking up snow and moving it away) and snow clearing (plowing and salting) are different services and in Toronto we rarely remove snow from streets. Here’s what you need to know when snow removal happens.
City crews will usually place temporary orange signs before snow removal operations begins. Where these signs are posted, parking on that road is prohibited until snow removal has been completed and the signs are removed.
The snow removal operation will typically take place either during the daytime from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The required temporary signage shall be posted by 8 p.m. of the previous day for daytime snow removal operations and by 3 p.m. of the same day for overnight operations.
In most cases snow can be managed within the existing road allowance. However, when the City receives large amounts of snow, the windrows left by the plowing operations can restrict traffic flow, interfere with both pedestrians and parking and obstruct sightlines. When this happens, the City must collect the snow and remove it to designated snow storage and snow melter sites.
Snow removal involves the use of snow melters, snow blowers, front end-loaders and dump trucks.
Transportation Services maintains a network of five snow storage and three snow melter sites throughout the city.
The Mayor and the General Manager of Transportation Services have the authority to declare a “major snow storm condition”. When this happens, parking on roads designated as snow routes is prohibited for a period of 72 hours. This is to allow for snow removal along these routes. The declaration may be cancelled sooner than 72 hours or it may be extended longer than 72 hours depending on how much snow needs to be removed.
Designated snow routes are primarily located in the downtown core and include all streetcar routes. They are all clearly signed. Parking on a designated snow route during a major snow event is subject to a fine of up to $200. A list of streets and a map show the streets that are impacted by the declaration of a major snow storm condition.
The declaration of a major snow storm condition will be publicized (typically through media and online. When a major snow storm condition is in effect, we encourage you to leave your vehicle at home and use public transit where possible.
Police, fire and ambulance services rely on clear roads to respond quickly to emergencies. Toronto Transportation is responsible for moving vehicles that delay our crews or hinder snow-clearing operations, even when a major snow storm condition has not been declared or when a vehicle is legally parked. In these instances vehicles are usually towed to an adjacent street. Call Toronto Police Service at 416-808-2222 to locate a vehicle that has been towed from a major arterial roadway. Illegally parked vehicles may be tagged, towed and impounded.