Ontario's Snowy Past

April 10, 2018 | Ann

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This April arrives not bearing flowers, showers or any indication of warming powers. Blowing winds and snow dance across the sky and tingle our eyes. If this is a dour warning of more coldness to come, we are assured that as Ontarians we have the fortitude and resilience to wait this cold blast out.  

The Great Blizzard of 1978 covered the Ohio Valley from the States to the Great Lakes in the north. The storm lasted two days from Wednesday, January 25, 1978 to Friday, January 27, 1978. Snowmobiles came to assist as many vehicles that were left stranded.  The caption for this photograph states,

Clogged: Snowmobiles were all that could get through many roads as a blizzard accompanied by hurricane force winds blasted southern Ontario.  Hundreds of commuters were unable to get home and hundreds more stranded in their cars. At least 11 people were killed.

This wintry hurricane left much death, destruction and misery for Ontario residents and our American neighbours in that short period of time. 


Link to TPL Archives of photograph of surprise snow storm has evening rush-hour traffic in a snarl at Highway 10 and Steeles Avenue in Brampton
Surprise snowstorm in 1972 has evening rush-hour traffic in a snarl at Highway 10 and Steeles Avenue in Brampton

On a milder note, surprise snowstorms, such as seen above from 1972, can immensely delay commuters on their travels. The driver in the photograph appeared tired and dazed as he conversed with an Ontario Provincial Police officer from his driver's window.


Newmarket Donell School Students push car in 1982
Newmarket Donell School students push car in 1982

Even with icy storms stalling car engines, a strong camaraderie and urge to help others in trouble can be seen here. The Donell School students during their lunch periods helped drivers uphill in a 1982 snowstorm. Random acts of kindness can warm many hearts even on the most chilliest of days.


Link to picture of the Ontario Zoological Park Wasaga Beach 1966 featuring Barbary sheep from the Atlas Mountains of North Africa

Barbary Sheep in the Ontario Zoological Park in Wasaga Beach in 1966

The cold season is less disdainful when one is appropriately outfitted for the weather. The Barbary Sheep in Wasaga Beach's Ontario Zoological Park traveled from the Atlas Mountains of North Africa in 1966. They have appeared to adapt well to the Canadian chill.


Link to TPL Archives of image of Muskoka in 1982 with ice melting
Muskoka melt: Winter is drawing to an end in Muskoka, but not without a fight. Spring breakup causes rivers to run high and fast as a result of vast amounts of snow melting in the area.

In the course of time, the icy cold unforgiving wintry weather will diminish. In Muskoka of 1982, spring began with the melting of ice. It was a good sign of things to come as the winter weather disappears to be replaced by fresh green foliage and longer warmer days.

To explore more images of snowy Ontario, view images in our Virtual Reference Library.

We hope that by mid-April, most of the ice and snow will fade as spring returns and warms the land.