Snow Day!?!

William Kurelek (1927-1977) -- Balsam Avenue After Heavy Snowfall (1972), image courtesy of

UPDATE: I’ve got to hand it to David Sukhin. The TDSB has closed schools for the day, for the first time in (I’m told) thirty years. Me, my office is open — so I’m off. Enjoy the snow day, everyone!


From an email apparently circulating among U.S. Elementary school students this week:

If you want it to SNOW tomorrow, do the following tonight, please.
Wear your PJ’s inside out and backwards.
Lean a paper plate against your window-sill.(It can be anything that’s made out of paper or plastic, if you don’t have a paper plate)
Pull a cat’s tail.(Not too hard!)
Flush an ice-cube down the toilet.
Put a spoon underneath your pillow.
Make sure you do this so we can have a DELAY or NO SCHOOL!

A massive winter storm is forecast to slam into southern Ontario tonight and tomorrow morning, and Toronto is expected to receive between 20 and 30 centimeters of the white stuff. Meteorologists are saying that this is the biggest storm to hit the region since 2008. Of course, this being Canada, the impending blizzard is all any one has talked about since it was first predicted a couple of days ago. The question most parents are asking (as they frantically try to figure out exactly what they’ll do if this does come to pass) is naturally, “do you think the kids will get the day off of school?”

If your children attend a Toronto District School Board school, I send encouragement to you, and my condolences to your children. If my past experience is any guide, you’ll be up early tomorrow to dig out your car. The crunching sound you’ll hear all over the city tomorrow morning will not be from the snow under foot. No, it will be the sound of the hopes of children all over the city (that they too, might possibly stay home like their suburban cousins) being crushed under the treads of a snow plow.

Growing up in the old city of Toronto, I could only wish to experience the mythical event known as a “snow day”. A whole day off from school because of snow? That was something that happened in Simcoe, or Burlington…or Buffalo. But if you lived in Metropolitan Toronto, you were expected to make it in to school, no matter how high that snow might be. I recall being dismissed early “for inclement weather”, as it was described to us then, but to have a whole day of school canceled? Those days were (and are) few and far between, the last during the January, 1999 storm when then-mayor Mel Lastman called in the (yeah, we know, we know…) army to dig out the city.

The decision to close TDSB schools is made by the Director of Education, and notices of school closures and bus cancellations will be published early tomorrow on the TDSB’s website. Local media will report on school cancellations for all Toronto area schools as well.

If you can’t wait until morning to find out whether schools will be open or not, you’ll be happy to know that U.S. grade eleven student David Sukhin has devised a “Snow Day Calculator”, which predicts with complete accuracy (says he) whether a school will close for a snow day. The site relies on weather data, user-determined information (such as the level of hype surrounding the storm) and algorithms of David’s own to come up with a percentage chance of a day off. David Sukhin clearly didn’t grow up in Toronto, as the site gives me a 99% chance of a snow day.

I say, one percent’s good enough for me.

If, as I predict, your children are heading to class tomorrow, my suggestion is to set the alarm a bit earlier than normal (if you haven’t already) so that you can leave with enough time to get everyone where they need to go as safely as possible. Of course, if local conditions where you are make it unsafe to travel, common sense dictates that you stay put, regardless of whether  school is open or not.  Regardless, stay warm and stay safe!


5 thoughts on “Snow Day!?!

  1. Hi Marcelle,

    You called it. I read your post last night and thought of it this morning. SNOW DAY! Really, in Toronto, something to be celebrated 🙂

  2. “From an email apparently circulating among U.S. Elementary school students this week:”

    My kids have always done the pjs inside out and backwards, then you jump on your bed. Most years it doesn’t do anything, this year it’s been quite effective bringing on the snow.

    • Kimmber, I’d never ever heard of that “trick” until yesterday! Perhaps if I’d gone to bed with my pj’s inside out, my office would have closed.

      BA — there’s like six inches of snow out there. Get ’em outside, for sure!

  3. Snow days had so much more appeal when it meant watching movies in my pjs all day. Now what am I going to do with the three of them!?!!? Outside, I say! Outside for some snow play!

  4. We got up at 5:45 for our family hockey and skating morning, and got to the rink and the rink manager was not there. Grrrrr. Then came home to confirmation of the snow day, which was not available before we headed out the door for (no) hockey. Could have had two extra hours of sleep…..

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