Everything there is to know about snow removal in Montréal

Last updated December 19, 2023
Reading time: 2 min

Snow, ice, rain, black ice: snow removal in Montréal represents a galactic challenge. Learn about how Montréal’s teams successfully complete their mission of clearing snow from the 10,000 km of streets and sidewalks despite the obstacles and vagaries of the weather.

Day and night, all winter long, thousands of people clear snow and spread salt and abrasives on Montréal’s streets and sidewalks. Their primary objective is to act as quickly as possible to facilitate travel for residents.

How can we make it easier to get around in the age of climate change? 

In winter, climate change is causing temperature fluctuations and increasing precipitation of all kinds: snow, freezing rain, ice pellets.

It can be very difficult to prevent ice from building up on sidewalks. A mixture of salt and small stones, while imperfect, remains the most effective choice for facilitating travel on icy streets and sidewalks. Salt melts ice when temperatures range between 0⁰ C to -15⁰ C. Crushed rock increases the grip of tires and boots when salt loses its effectiveness. However, there is still a risk of falling.  

Find out how our teams deal with it.

Which streets are cleared first? 

Few cities have to handle the size, density and climatic conditions of Montréal.The total length of the streets from which snow must be cleared is equal to the distance between Montréal and Peking! The city stands out for its turnkey snow removal services. In many other large cities, citizens must clear sidewalks themselves.

Learn more about the strategies used to coordinate work across such a vast area.

How are loading operations carried out? 

On average, five snow loading operations are needed each winter to clear the 190 cm of snow that Montreal receives. 

Once the snow has been cleared from the curb, in ideal conditions, it will take a minimum of 4 days and 4 nights to collect 15 cm of snow. However, it will take longer if there is more accumulation or precipitation during loading operations, if there are more tows than usual, if machinery breaks, or if crews have to take a break after too many hours of work. 

What is the best way to find your parking space as quickly as possible during a snow removal operation?

How to accelerate snow removal

Several factors complicate snow clearing operations, such as the type, quantity, speed and timing of precipitation. Here’s how you can speed things up: 

  1. Avoid earphones, keep your distance from the machinery and make sure you are clearly visible.  

  1. Leave garbage, recycling and brown bins on your property.  

  1. Park your car parallel to the sidewalk, 30 cm from the curb. 

  1. Obey all signs during snow loading operations. 

What other actions can be taken to speed up snow removal operations?