If you want to decrease your chances of having your car towed after a snow storm, avoid parking downtown along de Maisonneuve Boulevard, in the central Plateau–Mont-Royal and around Monkland Village.

An analysis of towing data released by the City of Montreal showed that these areas are hot spots for the removal of cars during snow removal operations.

The areas with high numbers of towed cars also tend to be far away from the 60 free parking lots provided by the city after a major winter storm.

This map shows these hot spots, along with the locations of the free parking lots. Individual tow operations were clustered into hexagons about 320 metres in width. The darker the hexagon, the more cars were towed inside it.

The zones in which most cars get towed are densely populated neighbourhoods where private parking is scarce and streets are narrow, city spokesman Philippe Sabourin said in a statement.

"Add to that traffic slowdowns from the influx of some 500,000 visitors [workers, tourists and students] into downtown each day," Sabourin said.

On average, 6,000 cars are towed from Montreal streets during snow removal operations. In a single day after a recent snowstorm, on Jan. 20, 3,440 cars were towed. A total of 8,100 vehicles were towed over four days.

Areas with high numbers of towed cars tend to be far from free parking lots, which suggests drivers may not always have the option of safely parking their cars off the street.

The closest free parking lots for the downtown core are in Old Montreal, around St-Jacques and Mansfield streets, more than one kilometre away. The lots do not have room for many vehicles — accommodating, at most, 36 cars.

To reduce the risk of being towed, the city urges drivers to download the Info-Neige app on their phones. The app alerts users as to when snow removal operations will reach their streets, so they can remove their cars on time.

An online map provides the same information, along with the locations of parking lots.

If a car is towed, drivers can locate it using the city's Info-remorquage website.


To make the map above, the CBC looked at city data on 46,300 towings after the last six major snowfalls in the winters of 2015 and 2016:

  • Dec. 29, 2015.
  • Jan, 18, 2016.
  • Feb. 16, 2016.
  • March 2, 2016.
  • Dec. 13, 2016.
  • Dec. 29, 2016.

With files from Radio-Canada