Snow job

January 29, 2019

Screen shot 2019-01-29 at 9.00.00 PMToronto is a nice place in the snow.

The storm that hit Toronto Monday was epic by Toronto standards, and by morning about 30 centimetres had fallen. Torontonians are an entitled lot, zipping around as they do in their Lexus and BMW and Mercedes cars and SUVs, but a big old wallop of snow renders a lot of these people pretty helpless. It slows them down, and evens things out a bit.

We live on a corner lot; municipal bylaws require homeowners to shovel their sidewalk, and so we end up with about 40 metres of sidewalk to clear off. My son and I started shoveling in the evening, and shoveled about every two hours, but the snow quickly erased our work. By morning I had to shovel it all over again.

But before I started I noticed a young man who parks his white delivery van by the neighbour’s house across the street. He backed up, trying to leave for the day, and lodged his truck in deep snow. His wheels spun helplessly. He got out a long pole with a squeegee blade and started trying to dig himself out, and I just felt bad so I went over, and then Frits came out as well, and we lent the truck driver a third shovel, and we dug him out.Screen shot 2019-01-29 at 9.00.15 PM He doesn’t speak much English, but he managed, “Thank you.”

Then I shoveled our walk, and then I took Coco to the park. On our way we saw that the plow had pushed snow up against peoples’ cars; a number of citizens stared balefully or pawed dutifully at their cars.

As we crossed the fluffy snow of the park a young woman came towards us wearing rubber boots. “I’m going to try to get to work on foot, because there is no way I can get my car out,” she said.

At Ryerson, where I taught a class today, crews had cut paths with snowblowers, leaving perfectly sliced walls of snow, about waist-height. I saw three young students in hijabs push eachother into the snowbanks.

Tonight when I walked home I saw several other guys who live on corner lots; they were only just barely completing the job of shoveling themselves out.

“It better not snow anymore,” one of my neighbours said.