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Be friendly or be fined

Call it a strong sense of civic duty, call it a guilt complex, but 73-year-old Etobicoke resident Catherine Hopewell spent the better part of yesterday morning digging out her driveway, along with her neighbours’ sidewalks.

Call it a strong sense of civic duty, call it a guilt complex, but 73-year-old Etobicoke resident Catherine Hopewell spent the better part of yesterday morning digging out her driveway, along with her neighbours’ sidewalks.

But she doesn’t have to, according to a city report that pointed out Etobicoke and York residents don’t have to pay fines for letting the snow pile up.

It’s a different story in the old city of Toronto and East York, where sidewalk plows can’t navigate narrower streets and residents are expected under a bylaw to clear the walks themselves within 12 hours of a snowfall.

Some 383 fines were levied last winter, the report said.

“I know just about everybody down the street here. It’s a neighbourly thing to do, really,” said Hopewell. “Don’t you feel guilty about not (shovelling)?”

Across town in East York, where a snowy sidewalk can cost you $125, Dwight McFee was digging out.

The 57-year-old said shovelling is a Canadian tradition, one that goes hand-in-hand with a more enjoyable pastime.

“It’s a chance to meet your neighbours and bitch,” he said. “We’re Canadians, that’s what we do.”

And if people don’t grab a shovel and join in?

“Damn right they should be fined. If you want to be selfish in the age of greed, then this is what you get,” he said.

 
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