Montreal travellers stranded by winter blast
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Monday, March 10, 2008 11:41PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 7:50PM EDT
Travellers in Montreal trying to escape the city's bleak winter weather are stuck in the airport, after a massive weekend storm cancelled hundreds of flights.
A group of high school students heading to Paris missed a full day of their trip because of delays.
"I feel bad for the students because they worked hard for two years to pay for this trip," said their teacher, Lucille Vachon, as they waited in Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
"This is their trip. They did the fundraising and they had jobs."
Robert Kartes, another stranded traveller, said he had his hands full trying to stave off boredom for his group.
"With five children between two families, looks like we're going to try some games and maybe a scavenger hunt," he said.
Outside of the airport, the city's snow removal crews are still trying to dig their way out of the snowy deluge.
Yves Girard, Montreal's snow removal director, told Canada AM on Monday poorly parked cars are hampering crews's efforts.
"They park at angles, so that makes difficulties for the equipment to pass on streets," Girard said. "We are asking the population to restrict the parking restrictions for the operations."
About 3,000 employees and 2,200 pieces of equipment are involved in the snow removal effort in Montreal, he said.
The city has 38 snow removal sites, but this year's long, snowy winter has left those filled, he said. Five new ones have been opened.
"For my career of 30 years in Montreal, I haven't seen so much snow," Girard said.
Environment Canada said all of Quebec received between 25 to 35 centimetres of snow, but high winds in some areas created huge drifts.
City officials in Ottawa suggested it could take until the end of the week to complete snow removal operations after an estimated 51 centimetres fell there.
Richard Hewitt, Ottawa's deputy city mayor manager, said the operation could cost millions of dollars.
"We've received one heck of a lot of snow this year and a lot of it has been quite recent -- certainly since January 1," he said. "In that vein, we expect that we're going to be well over our budget expectations."
Toronto got snowfalls of between 15 and 30 centimetres, with up to 40 cm in some outlying suburbs.
The city said most street clearing was wrapped up by Sunday night, with snow removal starting on Monday. However, bad parking held up streetcars on some inner city streets.
Cars that were parked too close to the city's streetcar tracks are being towed away at the expense of the driver.
Officials estimate the bill for digging out from this storm will top $5 million, CTV Toronto reported.
Toronto officials say the city has spent $45 million of its $67 million budgeted for snow removal this budget year, which ends in December, and may add another $12 million to the budget.
Girard suspects that Montreal has consumed more than the 60 per cent of its $127-million snow removal budget that it usually spends by this time.
Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City are all about one powerful snowstorm away from setting new records for most snowfall in a winter.
Ottawa has about 411 centimetres so far, with a record of 444 set in 1970-1971. Toronto has about 190 centimetres of snow so far, with the record of 207 cm set in 1938-39.
People in Campbellton, N.B. are mourning a young boy's snow-related death.
RCMP say the eight-year-old died Saturday when a snow tunnel in which he was playing collapsed, apparently suffocating him.
CTV Atlantic's Kellen Sundahl said Monday that relatives performed CPR on the boy, who wasn't breathing.
The boy was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, but doctors pronounced him dead, she said.
An autopsy was expected to be performed Monday.
Northern New Brunswick, where Campbellton is located, got about 50 centimetres of snow over the weekend as part of the storm.
In the Saint John area of southern New Brunswick, nearly 80 millimetres of rain caused some weekend street and basement flooding, but officials there say things are essentially back to normal.
Freezing rain on the weekend had people in Fredericton chipping instead of pumping or shovelling.
With reports from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness, CTV Montreal's Derek Conlon and Maya Johnson, and CTV Atlantic's Kellen Sundahl