Tag Archives: snow


This is what it’s come to folks: Snow is the No. 1 story in this city in 2008.

Now, it would be easy to blame the media for over-hyping this issue, pushing snow as news during a season when very little other news happens.

Instead, I blame you.

You who talk about nothing but the weather, who whine incessantly about how there has been snow on your street for a whole five minutes and the city hasn’t done anything about it yet. You who want your street cleared ASAP but are too lazy to move your car out of the way first. You who made the Weather Network one of the few networks not to face a significant downturn this year. You who are so disconnected from society that the weather is the only conversation material you have available in half your conversations.

It’s snow. Get over it.

Beware the tow trucks

An army of tow trucks clear out one side of a single block

An army of tow trucks clear out one side of a single block

Leaving work late last night, I noticed an army of tow trucks hooking onto cars parked on Ste. Catherine St. near Peel and hauling them away. The orange snow-clearing signs say no parking between midnight and 4am, so there’s no excuse for being there past 2am when this photo was taken.

Just because there wasn’t any snowfall that day doesn’t mean the guys with the snowplows don’t need the street when they’ve reserved it.

(And what were these people doing parked on the street downtown at 2am on a Monday anyway?)

Snow = slow

The first snowfall of the year hit the city this week, and the usual whining came quickly. So quickly that the National Post saw fit to make fun of us (even though nobody called in the army).

Because the storm was larger than expected, and because the worst of it hit during rush hour, traffic was backed up, and buses and plows couldn’t get through.

Patrick Lagacé asks: Is this normal?

Allow me to answer:

Yes this is normal!

Every year we get the same crap. People expect that ever block in the city has its own private snow-clearing team waiting for the first flakes to fall. Every year they forget that it takes a couple of days to clear snow off every street in the city.

The people who were unprepared for the first snowfall weren’t working for the city, they’re you. You without your winter tires. You without boots that have traction on ice. You who thought it would be a good idea to take your car downtown when the forecast called for snow. You who didn’t add extra time to your commuting schedule to account for delays caused by heavy snowfall.

I admit I’m a bit spoiled in all this. I take the metro exclusively to work (and during odd hours), so I rarely have to wait in line in the cold for a bus that’s half an hour late.

But even when I lived on the West Island and took an hour and a half to get downtown every day, I still understood that snowstorms cause delays. Why is it so hard for everyone else to understand the concept?

UPDATE (Dec. 14): Stéphane Laporte agrees with me: Winter happens. Get over it.

The orange sky

Taken at 3 a.m. on Nov. 25

Taken at 3 a.m. on Nov. 25

I dislike snow. Or at least I always complain about it. Snow means it’s cold and winter has officially arrived. On the other hand, I enjoy playing with snow, even when everything I wear is soggy afterwards.

The other thing I like about snow is the night sky after a snowfall. The city’s lights bounce off the bright, white sheet that has covered everything, then bounce off the low, white cloud, and scatter off the millions of little snowflakes falling to the ground. The result is an orange, almost purple sky that creates a strange middle ground between night and day.

Usually by the next night, the snow has finished falling, the streets have been plowed or the thin sheet has melted, and the clouds have dispersed. And night becomes dark once again.

Schools closed today

Here’s the lowdown:

(Decisions apply to all schools and head office unless otherwise indicated)

English CEGEPs:

All open (or at least none say they’re closed)

Universities are usually open through all but the most crippling of snowstorms. Check individual class websites or student portals for details.

Creative parking

Creative parking 1

As the snow fell this weekend on Montreal, the post-snowfall ritual sprang into action. It usually starts with lots of people complaining about the fact that the snow hasn’t been plowed yet. The complaints come so fast I have a feeling they’re written before the snow starts falling in the first place. With the complaints come increasingly ludicrous suggestions on how to fix the problem, such as:

Almost all the letters are ignorant of just how much organization goes into plowing streets in Montreal, and assume that, without having spent a single second inside a snow plow, they know better how to efficiently clear streets.

Really, the complaints are more misplaced frustration at having to spend two hours digging out their car with a shovel when they were already late for work. Sadly, no magical solution has been found for that yet.

The city then gives a guesstimate about how long it will take to clear, overemphasizing the fact that more snow or rain will delay the operation.

Then, as the plows finally come by to clear the streets, car-owners who ignored no-parking signs panic to relocate them before getting a ticket.

The big difference this time is that the city decided to open up its paid parking lots for free overnight parking (when they’re not used anyway). Drivers can park their cars in them during snow-clearing operations, provided they get them out of there by 6am 7am (thanks Andy) the next day.

Except, because the move was poorly publicized (or because no one wants to get up that early), the lots sat unused this time.

So instead, drivers desperate for a place to park had to each solve the standard snowbank parking dilemma. When faced with a free spot knee-deep in snow, there are three options:

  1. Find some temporary place to stash the car and dig the spot out with a shovel, hoping nobody swoops in and steals the spot after you’ve cleared it (this also presents the recursive problem of where to put the car when you’re clearing the spot)
  2. Declare the spot unparkable, and keep going looking for another one, which most likely doesn’t exist
  3. Drive the car as far as it will go into the spot, and then give up, leaving it either parked diagonally, parked far from the curb, or both

The pictures below show some Montreal drivers who chose Option 3 on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

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It’s another snow day! (mostly)

Since people have been Googling about school closures tomorrow (Monday, December 17), here’s a quick list of decisions that have been made as of 11pm Sunday. (Assume “open” means “tentatively open” and check the website before leaving in case they change their minds.)

School boards

(Decisions apply to all schools and head office unless otherwise indicated)

English private schools

(That I could think of, have your butler check the website (or CJAD’s list) if not listed here)

English CEGEPs:

Universities are usually open through all but the most crippling of snowstorms. Check individual class websites or student portals for details.

Doing my part

I was going to do some Christmas shopping today, but because (a) shopping malls amazingly are still closing at 5pm on weekends two weeks before Christmas and (b) I took one look outside, I decided to stay home and be one less strain on the transportation network.

That kept me in perfect position to see the lightning that everyone’s talking about, along with its acoustically suppressed thunder.

UPDATE (Dec. 18): The Journal wonders if the schools jumped the gun and if the closings were really justified.