CBC News - Toronto - Was snow day decision overkill?

A winter storm closed schools across Toronto Wednesday but with the snowfall well short of forecasters' predictions, some parents wondered whether declaring a snow day was overkill.

"This doesn't seem that bad to me," Diane Klute told CBC News. With school cancelled in most GTA school districts, her kids were able to stay home and watch a movie. "I looked out the window and was kind of shocked that school was cancelled."

Original predictions called for as much as 30 centimetres in some parts of southern Ontario, but Environment Canada reported that most parts of the GTA received only about 15 centimetres of snow by Wednesday afternoon. The snow tapered off by noon and resumed later in the afternoon but Toronto is expected to get no more than a few centimetres overnight on Wednesday.

Both Catholic and public schools were closed in Toronto, and schools from both boards were also closed in Halton and Peel regions.

Two exceptions in the GTA were York and Durham regions, which cancelled school bus service but kept classes open.

Toronto District School Board chair Chris Spence defended the decision to close schools on Wednesday, saying officials made the decision with weather forecasts calling for blizzard conditions.

"As the morning wore on, we became very concerned about the arrival of students and staff," Spence told CBC News.

"When all was said and done we put that all together and we made the decision to shut it down," he said.

Ana Piva took her daughter to school in Maple, located in Vaughan, a suburb northwest of Toronto.

“My daughter insists on going. She likes going to school so she’s not missing out. She says it’s a fun day,” Piva said.
As long as nobody gets hurt ... it's all right'

The storm was part of a massive system that dumped as much as 50 centimetres of snow in some parts of the United States. People who spoke to CBC News on Wednesday were thankful Ontario didn't get hit hard.

And while the snow day left some parents scrambling, most people were able to go about their day unaffected by the weather.

"I was in Philadelphia and the roads were unplowed for two or three days. This appears like everybody's getting around," said Bob Davis, who was visiting Toronto from Chicago.

Custodian James Hastings was busy clearing snow on Wednesday at St. Simon-the-Apostle church near the corner of Bloor and Parliament Streets. "As long as nobody gets hurt out there it's all right," he said.

Brian Davidson and his wife, Tania Davidson, said their commute from Stouffville, north of Toronto, was better than usual. "There was nobody on the train," he said.

On Tuesday, some Twitter users were nicknaming the storm "Snowtorious B.I.G." or "Snownami." By the end of the morning commute on Wednesday, the Twitter community started renaming the storm "Snobigdeal."

Although the snow wasn't as bad as predicted, police said it was a difficult commute for drivers who chose to brave the roads in the morning, particularly in areas outside the GTA.

On Wednesday morning, Ontario Provincial Police said "there are no good areas" along the snowbelt from the Niagara Region in the south to Barrie in central Ontario.

Sgt. Dave Woodford said several vehicles have slid off snow-packed and icy roads.