Snowstorm shuts down schools and buses in GTA


A major snowstorm that hit the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on Wednesday and continued overnight has forced several school boards to close schools and cancel buses on Thursday. The storm brought heavy snow, strong winds, and frigid temperatures, creating hazardous travel conditions and disrupting public services.


Schools closed and classes canceled

The following school boards have announced that all schools and administrative buildings are closed and all in-person and virtual classes are canceled for Thursday:

  • Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB)
  • Peel District School Board (PDSB)
  • Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB)
  • York Region District School Board (YRDSB)
  • York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB)
  • Halton District School Board (HDSB)
  • Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB)

Some school boards have also said that child-care centers and before- and after-school programs located in their schools will be closed as well. However, some child-care centers in York Region and Dufferin County will remain open at the operator’s discretion.

Some school boards have provided asynchronous learning activities for students who wish to continue learning at home. These include YRDSB, YCDSB, and DPCDSB. Other school boards have said that there is no expectation that students will participate in online learning on Thursday.

Some school boards, such as Durham District School Board (DDSB) and Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), have already started their holiday break as of Saturday. Others, such as Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), have designated Thursday as a holiday for students and educators.

Buses canceled in all zones

All school buses are canceled for the following school boards:

  • TDSB
  • PDSB
  • HDSB
  • DDSB
  • Conseil scolaire Viamonde (CSV)

The bus cancellations affect all zones and regions, including Toronto, Peel, York, Halton, Durham, Dufferin, and Simcoe. Students who use school buses are advised to stay home and not attempt to go to school.

Winter storm warning in effect

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for most of the GTA, as well as parts of southern Ontario. The warning says that the storm will bring up to 35 centimeters of snow in some areas, along with damaging winds and extreme cold temperatures.

The snow started as rain on Wednesday night but changed to flurries as the cold front moved in. The snow is expected to continue throughout Thursday, with the heaviest amounts falling in the morning and early afternoon. The snow will be accompanied by strong southwesterly winds, gusting up to 70 kilometers per hour, which will cause blowing snow and reduced visibility.

The plummeting temperatures could also lead to a potential flash freeze, which means that any wet or slushy surfaces will quickly freeze and become icy and slippery. The wind chill values will drop to -20°C or lower on Thursday night and Friday morning, creating a risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Environment Canada advises people to avoid non-essential travel and to prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. The agency also warns that the storm could cause power outages, roof collapses, and damage to trees and buildings.

Public services disrupted

The snowstorm has also disrupted several public services and events in the GTA. Here are some of the impacts:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport has reported numerous flight delays and cancellations. Travelers are advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
  • GO Transit and UP Express have reduced their service levels and warned of possible delays and cancellations. Riders are advised to check their schedules and plans.
  • TTC has deployed extra staff and equipment to clear snow and ice from tracks, platforms, and bus stops. However, some routes may experience delays or detours due to the weather conditions.
  • The City of Toronto has declared a “major snowstorm condition” to aid the cleanup efforts. This means that parking enforcement will be suspended on local roads, except for safety and emergency reasons. It also means that residents are asked to move their cars off the streets to allow plows and salters to do their work.
  • Several COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites have closed or reduced their hours due to the storm. People are advised to check the status of their appointments and reschedule if necessary.
  • Several community events and programs have been canceled or postponed due to the storm. These include outdoor skating rinks, toboggan hills, winter festivals, and library services.

Stay safe and warm

The snowstorm is expected to ease by Friday, but the cold weather will persist until the weekend. People are advised to stay safe and warm and to follow the public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

People are also encouraged to check on their neighbors, especially seniors and those with disabilities, who may need assistance during the storm. People can also call 211 for information and referrals to community and social services.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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