On Saturday morning a plow was out by the waterfront in Toronto, where most downtown streets had stayed closed for more than a week after major snowfall. Crews from the city were mopping up sidewalks left over from the massive snowstorm that first slammed Toronto in the afternoon of Wednesday 14 January.
Just before 6am on Saturday, an employee in Halifax, Ontario, tweeted a photo of a snowy strip of sidewalk that had become home to the temporary memorial to the passing of Johnny Cash.
Tyler Griffin (@tylerex_zone) Halifax’s waterfront streets in Scarborough, Canada this morning. Clearly a focus of last night’s homeless sweeps.
Henry McCurdy (@THMcurdy) The queue for this morning’s food banks in #Halifax.
Waiting for people to catch and collect.
With little incentive to camp out, many homeless people who haven’t been safe from the weather wait patiently in line. They’ve become more ubiquitous over the past week – particularly in Toronto, where Toronto news channels were filled with stories about winter shelters in dire need of helping hands.
Griffin says while many homeless people were forced to spend the night outside, others got help staying warm and dry with a portable heater (which, however, eats lithium batteries) or a Calgary barbecue.
Because there was no clear temperature outside on the weekend, everyone took for granted that the new snow would melt by Sunday afternoon.
As word spread of the snow on Saturday, it appeared as though the city had sprung into action. A large plow had started down onto the sidewalk by about 2.30am, and plow drivers and park rangers were clearing along the waterfront all morning.
Despite this work being done the day after major snowfall, crews appeared to be exhausted from clearing the streets from last week’s storm.
In Toronto, snow removal manager Maji Omer said they cleared a much larger patch of sidewalk than usual. “It was a pretty significant snowfall, so we had some focus,” he said, adding that the city did more than usual, but he didn’t have exact numbers.
Omer said the snow removal effort began before midnight, before the snow hit.
He said the sidewalks that were left uncovered, such as along Bloor, were likely covered by snow plows. Despite this, he told the Globe and Mail that crews would continue their work, giving no hint of any shifts in focus.
Some accused the city of prioritizing residents’ right to clean their sidewalks with snow as a game of horseshoes to separate them from others.
Gregg Hudson said in the tweet that he couldn’t believe the public works department would leave his Bloor Street sidewalk.
“Is this a prank?” he wrote. “I’m going to post this this afternoon. I think this is ridiculous. Please comment.”