Toronto sees 500 collisions after storm drops 22 cm of snow

Five hundred collisions were reported on Toronto’s roads and surrounding highways on Monday as the city shovelled its way out of a winter storm that first touched down on Super Bowl Sunday.

Snow started falling on Super Bowl Sunday and kept falling into Monday morning

Five hundred collisions were reported on Toronto's roads and surrounding highways on Monday as the city shovelled its way out of a winter storm that touched down on Super Bowl Sunday.

As of early Monday afternoon, the storm had dumped 22 centimetres of snow on Toronto and more than that in areas to the west and south of the city. Parts of southwestern Ontario saw between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow in many cases.

Driving conditions in the Greater Toronto Area are improving, but blowing snow remains a hazard. (Katie Doidge/Twitter)

Those many mounds of snow meant that shovels and snowplows were the tools of choice for homeowners, while snowplows cleared the way on the roads.

Mayor John Tory told reporters the city’s fleet of salters and snowplows got out to the roads as soon as they could and were doing what they could.

"You know, it's winter in Toronto and I think they're doing as well as they can," he said.

But those who braved the roads found themselves facing an ugly drive into work on Monday morning. Spinning wheels and sliding cars were a common sight.

Ontario Provincial Police had responded to 250 collisions on Toronto-area highways by the end of the morning rush hour as drivers dealt with low visibility in near-blizzard conditions, slow-moving traffic and slippery roads. By the end of the day, the OPP said that figure had climbed to 360 collisions. Another 140 were reported by the Toronto police.

Two of those crashes on Monday involved snowplows.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said police would normally be responding to 125 collisions in an entire day.

While snow-removal efforts are well underway throughout the Greater Toronto Area, it could take most of the day to clear side streets. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

"If you're following behind a snowplow, or you see a set of plows coming up and you're at an off-ramp, do not try to sneak in front of them or race them to the front, because it’s usually going to end in trouble for you," Schmidt told CBC News.

There were challenges elsewhere for people going about their daily business.

One Canada Post worker told CBC News that many people simply weren't able to clear their sidewalks and porches before they left for work. "When you've got this much snow, it's impossible to get to their porch," he said.

The storm also caused a multitude of school and bus closures across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as service delays on public transit and cancellations at Toronto’s two major airports.

In Peel Region, about 150,000 students got a snow day.

At Major Oaks Park in Brampton, Mike Brian was out with his daughter, Kylie, 7, enjoying the unexpected day off from school.

"We're just enjoying the snow day – tobogganing, having some fun, having some cocoa afterwards," he said.

With files from the CBC's Lucy Lopez, Natalie Kalata and Greg Ross