Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things Torontonians (and you) Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.


Ah, a snowy Thursday in Toronto, our second such day this year, and with winter not officially here until December 21st, I always worry that even in areas where there is a lot of snow people forget to apply common sense in many different areas of their lives when snow stays on the ground.

So today is the perfect day for me, to educate you, on the 13 Things You Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.

Let’s start with #1 because it’s the most important and the City of Toronto By-Laws and Chapter 719 of the Municipal Code lay it all out there for you.

1.  Make sure that you have cleared the sidewalk in front of your house!  According to City By-laws you have 12 hours from the last snowflake to remove the snow and / or ice from the sidewalk in front, behind or beside your property.

2.  Failure to remove snow and / or ice can result in a fine of up to $5000 under the Provincial Offences Act.

3.  Anyone – strangers, neighbours, government workers, can call 311 to notify them if your snow and / or ice is not removed within 12 hours after a snowfall.

4.  Thinking about clearing your snow onto the street?  DON’T!  Besides the obvious fact that it make driving that much more dangerous, it’s against the by-laws and you can be fined for doing this.  Plus, it’s fairly obvious when your lawn (which loves the water in the spring) is flat the snow in the street in front of your house is densely packed compared to others.

5.  If the City of Toronto has to send someone out to shovel or salt your sidewalk, you will be charged a fee for this “service: and if you do not pay it, it will be added to your property taxes.

6.  Starting this year – 2014 – the City of Toronto is paying special attention to those mounds of snow you pile at the curb in front of your house because as the weather changes they pose a safety concern regarding visibility, and drivers trying to avoid them.  Plus, by the mere fact that they are on the street means you are in violation of Section 719-5 of the Municipal Code.  By-law officers might force you to remove it at your own expense or fine you.

7.  Clean off your car before you  drive it!  All windows, the front and tail lights are essential to ensure you have complete visibility.  The majority of vehicle – pedestrian accidents in the winter occur when drivers cannot fully see out of their windows and bump into people crossing the street.

8.  I know it’s a pain in the butt for many of you, but you really do need to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic crossings when there is snow.  Besides being the law, and potentially dangerous if you do not, by rolling through stops, or around corners you also run the risk of having to brake suddenly and sliding or spinning out of control, or worse, stopping only to have the car behind you slam into you, and then for you to hit someone as a result.

9.  Signal.  I prefer to refer to the turn signal as an “indicator” because while it may be law to signal before you turn, it’s nice and kind to indicate to other drivers what you intend to do with your vehicle.  This is especially important if you are one of “those” drivers who do not feel the need to stop at every intersection as indicating your intentions keeps pedestrians safe and the cars around you less likely to want to roll down their windows and throw a snowball at your car.

10.  Be extra courteous to those around you who are walking when you are driving.  They are dealing with un-cleared sidewalks, and cold, or wind, plus heavy clothing and usually something in their hands.  The LAST thing they need to do is wonder whether that car is a) going to stop, b) sees them c) start to proceed before they finish crossing the street.

  1. If you hired a ploughing service to clean your driveway, make sure they are not falling out of favour with your neighbours or with the City by-laws.

  2. Think about others!  If your neighbour shovels your sidewalk when it snows, it might not be a smart idea to only shovel your piece of sidewalk when you are doing yours.  Even if you are in a rush, make an effort to go a little onto their side, they’ll understand.  But to put up that snow barrier while their side is still covered and yours is clean is a message to that neighbour that you are only thinking about yourself.  Is that what you want them thinking?  I’ve always said that it is better to accept the help of your neighbour than criticize them for where they put your snow, that you should have moved!

13.  Put a smile on your face and be nice to others!  Say hello to neighbours, strangers and passers by.

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For the love of G-d, man… Shovel your snow on your lawn, not in the street… It’s against city bylaws.


This is one of me pet peeves.  People who shovel their snow in the street instead of on their lawns.  If you live in the greater Toronto Area, you would know, or should know, that it is against the city bylaws.  If you get caught doing this – the city had bylaw officers out last winter ticketing houses in my area – and if you don’t pay it, they tack it onto your property taxes.

Best choice… Don’t do it.  The fine is somewhere between $150-$300 but cannot exceed $5000.

I’ve actually stopped my car and told residents about the bylaw and had many of them look at me like I was crazy, and also thank me for letting them know.  Most people just don’t know. 

In case you were wondering what section of the municipal code this falls under, I have provided it below, it is 719-5.  Feel free to google it, print it out and hand it to that annoying neighbour who fills the street with their snow making it very difficult to drive or walk around their house.  

 

Chapter 719 of the Toronto Municipal Code:

SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL

§ 719-1. Definitions.

§ 719-2. Time limit for removal of snow and ice from sidewalks.

§ 719-3. Removal from sidewalks by city; recovery of costs.

§ 719-4. Removal from structures.

§ 719-5. Moving snow onto streets.

§ 719-6. Offences.

§ 719-7. Use of the word “highway.”

§ 719-8. Transition

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Toronto 1999-7-29 by By-law No. 530-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]

GENERAL REFERENCES

Traffic and parking — See Ch. 950.

§ 719-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

BUILDING — Includes the land and premises appurtenant to the building.

§ 719-2. Time limit for removal of snow and ice from sidewalks.

A. Every owner or occupant of any building must, within 12 hours after any fall of snow, rain or hail has ceased, clear away and completely remove snow and ice from any sidewalk on any highway in front of, alongside or at the rear of the building.

B. After the removal of snow and ice, if any portion of the sidewalk becomes slippery from any cause, the owner or occupant must immediately and as often as necessary apply to the sidewalk ashes, sand, salt or some other suitable material so as to completely cover the slippery surface.

C. Subsection A does not apply to an owner or an occupant of a building where, pursuant to City of Toronto policy, the City of Toronto has undertaken the responsibility to clear away and completely remove snow and ice from the sidewalk on the highway in front of, alongside or at the rear of the building at that location.

1999-11-25 by By-law No. 776-1999]

TORONTO MUNICIPAL CODE

§ 719-3 SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL

719-2

§ 719-3. Removal from sidewalks by city; recovery of costs.

A. Where snow and ice resulting from any fall of snow, rain or hail has not been removed from a sidewalk situated on a highway in front of, alongside or at the rear of any occupied or unoccupied building or vacant lot, within 12 hours after the fall of snow, rain or hail has ceased, the Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services or a person appointed by the Commissioner may, at the expense of the owner of the building or vacant lot, clear away and remove the snow and ice, including the remediation of any slippery sidewalk.

B. The Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services must keep an account of all expenses incurred in doing the work and of the building or vacant lot in respect to which the work was done.

C. The expenses incurred in doing the work may be collected or recovered from the owner of the building or vacant lot in any manner, including the manner provided by section 326 of the Municipal Act.1

§ 719-4. Removal from structures.

A. The owner or occupant of any building which fronts or abuts on or is erected near to a highway, from which snow or ice may fall upon the highway, must, whenever snow or ice accumulates upon any portion of the building to an extent that is dangerous to the public using the highway, sidewalk or lane way, cause the snow or ice to be immediately removed from the building.

B. The owner or occupant must take proper care and precaution for the warning and the safety of the public using the highway, sidewalk and lane way, during the removal of the snow and ice.

§ 719-5. Moving snow onto streets.

No property owner, occupant or other person shall move or permit to be moved snow or ice from private property onto a highway, sidewalk or lane way.

§ 719-6. Offences.

[Amended 1999-11-25 by By-law No. 776-1999]

Every person who contravenes any provision of this chapter is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine as provided for in the Provincial Offences Act.2.  A person convicted of an offence is liable  to a fine of not more than $5,000.

 

SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL § 719-7

719-3

§ 719-7. Use of the word “highway.”

The meaning of the word and expression “highway” where used in this chapter shall have the same meanings attributed to the word and expression by the Highway Traffic Act,

R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, and amendments and successors thereto.

§ 719-8. Transition

A. Despite this chapter, By-law No. 211-74 of the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, being a by-law “To regulate the use of Metropolitan Roads,” Chapter 304,

Snow and Ice Removal and §313-3 of Chapter 313, Streets and Sidewalks, of the Municipal Code of the former City of Toronto, Chapter 223, Snow and Ice, of the Municipal Code of the former City of Etobicoke, By-law No. 701 of the former Borough of East York, being a by-law “For the removal of snow and ice from public

sidewalks,” By-law No. 1381 of the former Borough of East York, Chapter 838,

Snow Clearing – Sidewalk and Chapter 1004, Street, of the Municipal Code of the former City of York, By-law No. 1212-71 of the former Borough of York, By-law No. 3343-79 of the former Borough of York, By-law No. 17117 of the former City of Scarborough, By-law No. 21621 of the former City of North York, being “A Bylaw to prohibit or regulate the obstructing, encumbering, injury or fouling of highways,” and By-law No. 5630 of the former City of North York (collectively referred to as the “other Snow and Ice Removal By-laws”) and any and all provisions therein shall remain in force until expressly repealed.

B. In the event of any conflict between any one or more of the other snow and ice removal by-laws and this chapter, this chapter shall govern.

[Amended 1999-12-16

by By-law No. 891-1999

 

Editor’s Note: This by-law provided that § 719-8B shall be effective on the earlier of: (a) the date that the City Solicitor files

a notice in the office of the City Clerk that the City of Toronto has received from the Regional Senior Justice of the Court of Ontario approved set fines for the offences set out in City of Toronto By-law No. 530-1999, as amended, being a by-law “To Provide for Snow and Ice Removal;” and (b) February 4, 2000.

OMG… Snow


It’s Toronto.  It’s winter.  It gets cold and it snows.  A lot.  You would think drivers would know to be cautious and slow down… but nope. 

Now that the first snowfall is on the ground, drivers get stupid.

We had a snow storm Tuesday night / Wednesday morning and here are some of my observations after spending 2 1/2 hours in my car on what should have been a 25 minute trip to the office;

Cars follow too close

Why it is that tow trucks get to sit on the shoulder of major highways, idle much longer than the 3 minute limit and drive like complete assholes most of the time.  What makes them so fucking important.

When the road is covered in ice why is there always that one asshole in a SUV or a minivan who you see racing up behind someone like their car has special tires, then at the last minute you see them slam their feet on the brakes and fishtail because you just can’t do that in the winter.  I wish I had the ability to take people’s driver licenses away on the spot.

I also had the opportunity to have to duck for cover as I was shovelling my driveway and the snow from in front of my house and a woman drinking a Starbucks coffee came flying down my street and splashed slush all over me.  Don’t these drivers realize in the winter than they should go slower than the speed limit when there is something on the road?

Or the idiot driver I was beside yesterday who was eating, on the phone – and driving in the right lane with a flat tire.

There needs to be graduated licenses for new drivers in Canada for winter driving.  For the safety of others.  It’s not a dig or cash grab against new Canadians, but driving in snow is tricky.  Even for the most experienced drivers.

More fu%kin snow!?!


Just when I thought it was safe to go outside (read: drive up to Richmond Hill in the wife’s standard vehicle) we get dumped on with feet upon feet of snow (closer to 5-10cm) and all hell breaks loose on the roads.

Where are the goddamn ploughs???

Why do they wait until after the snowfall to come out of hiding?  Are they afraid?  Maybe it’s a union thing, like the one that is slowly destroying York University.  Maybe it’s a plan to allow people (not me) to take the day off work…  Who knows, but it’s really fucking annoying.  Can drive on an incline, stopping and starting bite, forget turning and I think I must close my eyes and pray (and I’m not a religious man) every time I look into the rear-view mirror and see a SUV or minivan flying up behind me because crappy driving conditions don’t exist for them…

Not fun.

So after an hour and a bit drive this morning and an hour drive home, I am already dreading the morning drive tomorrow.  If I leave before 7:30, I might get there before 8:30, or if I wait I’ll be there after 9.  It should be interesting considering Stewie is sick (again).  He has an ear infection, and is on meds.  Looking at him now, in the bath with his brother, he is lethargic and his eyes are droopy.  He looks sick.  Poor kid.  Hope he sleeps tonight!  I should plan on being asleep early myself so when he wakes up at 2am again I’ll be ok.

About that 2am wake up…

Monday night I had ball-hockey – we tied the worst team in the league 1-1.  I had a pretty good game, I thought.  I had spent an hour in the gym earlier in the day and I felt great.  Many players on my team were yelling at me to play physical, but when I did, they complained that the guy ran past me… duh!  No shit he did… But he didn’t have the ball…

So after the game I got changed, ran an errand them came home at 1:30am for bed.

Fine.

Tuesday night (last night) I was asleep really early – 10:30pm – but Stewie woke up at 1:50am calling for me.  He had to pee.

Seriously… This is what a child in the midst of toilet-training does… Wakes his daddy up in the middle of the night to pee.  Then grabs his blankie and pillow and announces that he’s sleeping in “mummy’s bed”.

NOT.

I get him back to bed after 30 minutes of him crying and I slide back into bed and back to sleep.

Don’t see much sleep in the plans for tonight…

What pisses me off…


Stupid neighbours!

Stupid neighbours who think its ok to have a ploughing company shovel their snow onto our lawns, and even to block part of our driveways.  When confronted, these stupid neighbours agree to have their driveways cleared with shovels instead – and agree to dump the snow onto their lawns instead.

So what pisses me off about them???

2:45am – plough drives into their driveway – man gets out to shovel their steps – driver of plough scrapes driveway clean then puts snow up on our lawn – across the street.  Not only did the scraping disrupt the sleep of my son but the stupid plough left a bunch of snow in the street in front of my house, plus a huge pile blocking my view when I back out of the driveway.  If it wasn’t -20 with the windchill this morning, I’d go out and shovel it all back… Yes I would!

Fuckers!!! 

So why was I up so early in the morning??? Because Stewie was coughing all night and I left him and UM (also coughing into her 2 week) to sleep in our bed and went to sleep on the couch.  I figure I got a good 3 hours sleep last night to go with the 3 hours the night before… yawn.  I feel and look like a zombie.  Anyone for more children?!?  Yikes!  That would kill me!!!