Montreal Is Really Good at Snow Removal, Eh?

Snow removal in Montreal
Snow removal in Montreal –@erhezia/Instagram

Montreal has long been seen as the city with “undisputed expertise’’ in matters of snow removal.

A 1999 Globe and Mail article described the city’s approach:

“It’s one of the snowiest major cities in the world, and its approach to snow is akin to the U.S. attitude toward Saddam Hussein — it’s an archenemy that should, ideally, be removed from the scene as fast as possible.’’

They don’t just plow the streets. They also plow the sidewalks. (Imagine!)

Sidewalk plowing in Montreal —@millimix/Instagram

But plowing is just the beginning of the city’s snow management strategy. Once plowing is complete, the actual removal begins.

Snow removal in Boston often means the removal of snow from the middle of the street to the edge of the street. Or the sidewalk, to the neverending frustration of property owners and pedestrians.

Commuters wait at the B line’s Griggs Street stop on Commonwealth Avenue on February 3, 2015. —@boymeetsboston/Instagram

When Montreal talks about snow removal, they mean the actual removal of snow.


Here’s how they do it:

When significant snow is expected, signs go up announcing on-street parking bans. The city offers thousands of “off-street, overnight parking spaces available to residents, free of charge.’’ Tow trucks clear the streets of any stragglers.

With the streets clear of parked cars, the city can begin “snow loading operations.’’ Snow is plowed into the center of the street. A giant snow blower then sprays the snow from the street into a truck, which transports the snow to one of the city’s 28 “disposal locations.’’

This video shows how it works.

Here’s how a Montreal street looked after a snowstorm.

Montreal street, devoid of cars following snowstorm. —@Journalrosemont/Twitter

And here’s a street in Boston after last week’s blizzard.

Spring Garden Street in Dorchester, after the January 2015 blizzard —@brittpv/Instagram

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