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Scrambling for salt: Frigid winter turns road salt into white gold

Forget about the undercoat. A long and bitter winter has depleted supplies of road salt to the point where desperate buyers are turning to the black market

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City workers load a truck with road salt at a storage facility on Eastern Ave. in Toronto, Thursday February 27, 2014. Windsor Salt, one of three major suppliers in Ontario, is facing its highest demand in two decades. The company has shut its doors to new customers, and its three mines are working overtime to meet commitments on existing municipal contracts.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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City workers load a truck with road salt at a storage facility on Eastern Ave. in Toronto, February 27, 2014. “We can’t be shovelling salt out the back door and making money off it,” said Denzil Minnan-Wong, a Toronto councillor and chair of the public works and infrastructure committee.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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City workers load a truck with road salt at a storage facility on Eastern Ave. in Toronto, February 27, 2014. In the first two months of the latest budget year, Toronto spent half of its $80-million budget for snow removal for 2014.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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With the heavy winter Toronto has been experiencing so far, bags of salt and ice melter have been at a premium. Stores have run out of stock of the necessary items as people try to keep their sidewalks and driveways free of ice and snow this year.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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These bags of salt were being sold at a midtown Toronto gas station.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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