It was nearly dinnertime and retired flight engineer Al Belliveau had yet to step outside. His home in Greenwood, N.S., was encased in snow. There was so much of it, he couldn't open his back door.
The pile outside his front window looked higher than the village commissioner could recall in his quarter century in Greenwood. Coupled with howling winds, the winter storm incapacitated the community and many others in the Maritimes on Sunday.
"It's a good three-and-a-half feet," he said. "And it's still snowin' and blowin.'"
Sunday's storm walloped the East Coast, halting bus and ferry services in Halifax, delaying and cancelling flights at the city's Stanfield International Airport, and causing the roof of a curling club to collapse. Strong winds prompted officials to prohibit buses and tractor trailers from using the Confederation Bridge that links PEI to New Brunswick.
Meanwhile, much of Ontario and Quebec was under an Environment Canada extreme cold warning, as numbing temperatures and winds pounded the region.
Record lows were recorded in Windsor and in the Northern Ontario communities of Wawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Marathon and Armstrong, where it was a frigid minus-44 on Sunday morning – and that's without the wind chill, according to Environment Canada.
In Toronto, the biting cold may have contributed to a disabled man's death. Toronto police Staff Sergeant William Hurley said Mark Stroz, 29, was found collapsed in the driveway of his Etobicoke home around 7 a.m. Sunday. A passing driver noticed Mr. Stroz. His wheelchair was also in the driveway. Paramedics took Mr. Stroz to a hospital, where he was declared dead.
Police are investigating and appealing for witnesses to contact them. Staff Sgt. Hurley said the death does not appear to be suspicious.
Mr. Stroz had been out with friends Saturday night and returned home in a taxi. It's not clear what time he was dropped off or what happened afterward. An autopsy has been ordered. Staff Sgt. Hurley said police have not yet located the cab operator. "We would certainly like to speak with the taxi driver," the police officer added.
Temperatures were expected to rise in Toronto. Environment Canada meteorologist Sophie Splawinski said the extreme cold warning for Southern Ontario was slated to lift by Monday morning.
While not extreme, the increase doesn't mean it won't still be cold. Environment Canada's forecast predicted the temperature would climb to minus-13 during the day, much lower than the average high of minus-1 at this time of year.
"These temperatures are quite extreme in terms of what we are used to," Ms. Splawinski said.
According to Environment Canada's seasonal forecast, the next 2 1/2 months are expected to be colder than usual in Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Atlantic. Normal temperatures are predicted for the Prairies, while above-normal temperatures are expected to continue in B.C., which has had an extraordinarily mild winter so far.
Back in the Maritimes, scores of residents will be digging their way out of waist-high snow Monday – or, like Mr. Belliveau, using a snow blower.
The village of Greenwood, which is in the Annapolis Valley and includes a military base, had recorded the most snow in Nova Scotia by late Sunday afternoon: 43 centimetres and counting. It has been a long winter, with one storm after another pummelling the Maritimes.
"I don't recall seeing this much [snow] on the ground at one time," said Mr. Belliveau, who used to work for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
With files from The Canadian Press