Blasts from the past: Canada's worst snowstorms

As a major snowstorm wreaks havoc in southern Ontario and the northern U.S., CBC News takes a look back at some of the most significant Canadian winter storms of the past 65 years.

A look at some of the biggest Canadian winter storms of the past 65 years

A couple makes its way through snow-covered streets in Montreal after a storm blanketed much of Eastern Canada in December 2007. The storm delivered between 30 and 40 cm of snow and featured winds of 100 km/h in some regions. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

2007-'08: Serious snow

Canadians shovelling out from the major snowfall that blanketed Central and Eastern Canada on Dec. 16-17, 2007, had reason to be awed by the storm's fury.

About 30 to 40 centimetres fell on southern Ontario and Quebec before the system blasted into the Maritimes. Winds gusted up to 100 kilometres an hour in some places and the city of Ottawa set a single-day snowfall record with 35.7 cm.

Weeks later, a series of storms pounded southern Ontario with a nasty mix of snow, high winds, ice pellets and freezing rain on Feb. 1 and Feb. 5-6, 2008.

2004: White Juan

A mere five months after the devastation of Hurricane Juan, an exceptional winter storm lashed Atlantic Canada.

The blizzard of Feb. 18-19, 2004 — nicknamed "White Juan" — dumped 50 to 70 cm of snow on Nova Scotia, paralyzing the province and forcing a state of emergency to be declared. Visibility dropped to near zero as heavy snow was whipped by winds of 60 to 80 km/h, gusting to 120 km/h in some areas.

The storm also pounded Prince Edward Island and southeast New Brunswick.

1999: A snow record falls

Tahtsa Lake, B.C., set the record for the largest one-day snowfall measured in Canada on Feb. 11. About 145 centimetres fell in the remote area west of Prince George within a 24-hour period.

That's as much snow as Whitehorse typically receives in an entire year, and more than people in Calgary, Edmonton or Winnipeg see annually.

The storm came 25 years after nearby Lakelse Lake, B.C., was walloped with a record 118 cm in a single day.

1999: Toronto calls in the army

A snowstorm dropped 39 centimetres on the city on Jan. 2, 1999 — but that was just the beginning of Toronto's snow problems. The flakes kept piling on, as a series of storms rolled in the following days.

After a 27-cm snowfall on Jan. 14-15, more than a metre of snow had been dumped on the city. That prompted Toronto officials to call for military assistance in clearing roads, to the amusement of Canadians across the country.

Watch: CBC archives 

1998: The ice storm

Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec received major damage in this January weather disaster. In Montreal, about 100 millimetres of ice accumulated after five days of freezing rain, ice pellets and some snow.

At least 25 people died in the storm's aftermath, and a million people were left without power, some for weeks. A reported $3 billion was spent on the cleanup effort.

Watch: CBC Archives 

1996: West coast wallop

Victoria can often claim to be Canada's snow-free city. Not so in December 1996, when a two-day storm blanketed Vancouver Island and B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

An improbable 65 cm of snow fell on Victoria in a day, bringing public transit to a standstill. Vancouver received a record 35 cm, and highways were also closed across the Fraser Valley.

Watch: CBC Archives 

1982: P.E.I. blanketed

With 100 km/h winds and snowfalls of up to 60 cm, this February storm brought Prince Edward Island to a standstill for a week. The island was cut off from the mainland, and trains were buried in snowdrifts up to seven metres high.

1977: Niagara blizzard

A major storm struck the Niagara peninsula and western New York in January 1977. The total snowfall for the storm was fairly modest, at 60 cm, but the wind's bluster made it unique.

Gusts of more than 80 km/h were reported for several days and piled drifts several metres high in places. Temperatures dropped to –20.

The Regional Municipality of Niagara declared a state of emergency on Jan. 29, and the U.S. government declared a federal disaster area in New York a few days later.

1971: Montreal slammed

Seventeen deaths were blamed on the city's worst recorded winter storm on March 4, 1971. Winds of up to 110 km/h created massive snowdrifts from the 47 cm of snow that fell.

In the end, about 500,000 truckloads of snow were hauled out of the city.

1967: Alberta blizzards

Intense winter storms created chaos in the southern part of the province between April 17 and 29, when 175 cm of snow fell. According to Environment Canada, army units were dispatched to assist in snow clearing.

1966: Winnipeg storm

For two days in March, Winnipeggers were warned to stay at home in the face of a winter blizzard that dropped 35 cm of snow on the city. Winds of 120 km/h made driving impossible, as drifts clogged local highways.

1947: Prairie blizzard

This 10-day storm closed some rural roads and railways in Saskatchewan until spring and affected communities from Winnipeg to Calgary.

1944: Toronto storm

Almost 50 cm of snow fell during a severe winter storm, blown into huge drifts by gale-force winds. At least 21 people died in the storm, which produced a total of 57 cm in two days.

Source: Environment Canada