Massive city cleanup begins

<p>If Toronto were human, today it would be undergoing thousands of emergency angioplasties to unclog every inch of its 5,200 kilometres of roadways in a scale of operation not seen since the "disaster" of 1999.</p>

 

Weekend storm a stroke of luck, city official says


 

 

Aaron Harris/torstar news service

 

Jennifer Scrutton, left, and Lisa Hughes look on as the dog shakes itself dry in a snow fort on their front lawn in Toronto yesterday.



If Toronto were human, today it would be undergoing thousands of emergency angioplasties to unclog every inch of its 5,200 kilometres of roadways in a scale of operation not seen since the "disaster" of 1999.



So if you’re wondering when your street will be cleared, the answer is, soon. Harried city workers are asking for patience — promising to get to you eventually.



Just as the forecasters predicted, though a bit late in arriving, Mother Nature walloped Ontario with a giant pillow of snow yesterday.



It fell lightly overnight Saturday, but by Sunday morning the city was seeing near-whiteout conditions.



People walked along tire tracks in the middle of streets because sidewalks were impassable. At least one person was spotted skiing to church.



By noon, thunder and lightning added a note of menace.



While most of Toronto followed officials’ advice to stay home, hundreds of city workers had no such choice. Many were out by 3 a.m. yesterday clearing snow from the main expressways. At 8 a.m. more crews began plowing all the roads and were to continue well into today.



"We just wish the snow would stop," said Myles Currie, a director with transportation services who was guiding the city’s snow battle yesterday. "But if there’s a silver lining in this snowstorm, it’s that it happened on the weekend instead of a weekday when all our equipment would be bogged down in morning traffic."



Currie says it was the worst storm since 2001.



That makes yesterday’s blizzard the biggest challenge to city crews since the debacle of January 1999, when more than a metre of snow got dumped on the city and Toronto became infamous for calling in the military to help clean up.



 
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