Largest Toronto-area Blizzard since 1978: January 17, 2022

In the schedule which I send out to walkers I have written the following: No matter what the weather is, I will always be at the location. In 15 years, no walks have been cancelled.

I began to question myself about that statement this morning when I awoke to see our backyard yews heavily bent over under the weight of a considerable amount of blowing snow.

Even the birdfeeder was loaded.

At 7, I began to shovel out the car and 45 minutes later was on the DVP. Slow but moving although I could see that the eastbound Gardiner Expressway was blocked by several immobile transport trucks. At one point, I had to stop the car ON the expressway to remove ice from the wipers.

By 8:45, I was at Marie Curtis Park although the entrance remained impassable.

I found a safe spot to park the car and began to walk about and take these photos with a little point-and-shoot camera.

At 10,

I took a selfie which is this morning’s “group” photo:

I then walked about to see if I could find even one bird. Not one!

Here is a bird list from Marie Curtis Park on January 9 2016:

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, hooded merganser, mourning dove, glaucous gull, herring gull, ring-billed gull, hairy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco. (13 species)

and the group from that day:

And finally the drive home. By this time, the Gardiner Expressway and DVP were closed. Driving, at times, reminded me of certain CNE midway rides which I used to enjoy as a child.

Some family members sent me these photos taken from their condominium homes:

and from a neighbour, this view of the DVP:

MYSTERY BIRD from Saturday:

This species normally eats fruit and insects but this one is wintering with us and must eat what is available: a Baltimore Oriole.



years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world. – William Carlos Williams

Miles Hearn

9 thoughts on “Largest Toronto-area Blizzard since 1978: January 17, 2022

  1. John Bohdanowicz

    I was glad I did the University of Guelph bird calls lecture today from the comfort of my home! Thanks for the link.
    What was the mystery bird posted on Friday?

  2. Helen Kennedy

    Wonderful report Miles!! And thanks for the link to the U of Guelph course on bird calls. It was so great – especially in this weather and amidst the worst pandemic since 1917! Hope to join you again in the spring

  3. Gloria James

    I’m glad you make the trek to and from Marie Curtis Park safely. The birds have the right idea – stay under cover today. It is still very blustery outside. You are a very, very dedicated instructor.

  4. Pina

    I was wondering if the group would be walking today.
    Kudos to you, Miles. You are truly a man for all seasons. And there was no way you were going to spoil your record. With your determination, let’s hope one day there is not a hurricane or tornado!!

  5. Christine Dick

    Miles I did a walk along the lakefront from parliament to yonge and was a little luckier than you in the bird department. My bird of the day was a Herring Gull.

  6. Lisa Volkov

    I KNEW you would MAKE IT to Monday’s walk!
    And it was one of the furthest away (if not the furthest away)– MARIE CURTIS PARK!

    But what’s the point? There were no birds! (joking)

    Surely EVEREST has to be next on your to-do list. You’ve already DONE Antarctica! And the Pacific Ocean…and getting to the Falkland Islands (do I have that right?) in a dingy…

    Then again, there are probably no birds on top of Everest. So– why bother?

    Absolutely remarkable!

    (P.S.: On a minor note: I considered Oriole first, where that mystery bird was concerned, before I tried American Redstart. But I thought: Not ORANGE enough–forgetting that there is one that isn’t!)

  7. Hal Belcher

    You should have been in snow country….Penetang Ontario. During the blizzard a few days ago in Toronto, Penetang got about four inches of snow. Total accumulation on the ground, mostly since Christmas, about 15 inches.



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