Skip to main content

A winter storm closed schools in Montreal, Toronto, London and Windsor, on Wednesday.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

A winter storm tearing its way across Ontario and Quebec has sent at least 29 people to hospital following a series of highway pileups in Montreal.

Blowing snow and black ice was blamed and Quebec provincial police called in extra help to deal with the multiple mash ups of cars and transport trucks.

The biggest sandwich took place on a highway east of Montreal which involved about 70 vehicles, including about 30 tractor trailers and a school bus.

It stretched three kilometres long.

A provincial police spokesman on the scene says the accident sent three people to hospital with minor injuries, but no one on the school bus was hurt.

Another pileup north of Montreal produced an accordion of about 30 vehicles and sent four people to hospital - one with serious injuries. Several tractor trailers were also part of the wreckage.

Further down the same highway, 10 vehicles were involved in another pileup. And another accident, near Montreal, sandwiched 20 vehicles together.

One hospital says it has treated 29 people for accident related injuries.

Quebec provincial police spokesman Sergeant Denis Richard said it was a "big day" for accidents as the storm seemed to catch motorists off guard.

"I've seen pileups before, but that many pileups all over the place? It's been a while," he said.

While there was highway chaos in Quebec, the storm wasn't as bad as meteorologists expected in Ontario.

Days of warnings about a major winter storm that threatened to dump 30-plus centimetres of snow left people unimpressed when they awoke to just a fraction of that prediction.

Toronto residents were particularly critical when less than 10 centimetres on city streets closed schools and kept people away from work in droves.

Still, Toronto wasn't the only city in the path of the enormous storm that charged in from the United States, sweeping across Ontario, Southern Quebec, and into Atlantic Canada.

Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office warned residents to be prepared, especially for transportation disruptions, in the face of a winter wallop that could dump as much as 45 centimetres on parts of the region.

The estimates of 30 centimetres of snowfall that had some Twitter users nicknaming the storm Snowtorious B.I.G. on Tuesday were "probably a bit on the high side," conceded Environment Canada's Geoff Coulson.

By the end of Wednesday's commute, the Twitter community started renaming the storm Snobigdeal.

"I thought it was going to be worse because of what they were saying" on the news, said Angela Aulino, a corporate clerk working in the city's downtown.

Aulino said she got up early to clear the snow, only to find there wasn't that much to shovel.

The storm saw the Toronto District School Board close its nearly 600 elementary and secondary schools - the first city-wide snow day for students since 1999, when the then mayor famously called in the army.

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct