Sidewalks in winter

Thank you Guelph taxpayers.

We are very fortunate in Guelph that taxpayers fund a service to clear snow from sidewalks.  Not all municipalities have this service.  There are approximately 657 kilometres of sidewalk in our city.

  •  Two-hundred and thirty-seven (237) km are considered high priority.  They are cleared when 4 cm of snow accumulates and within 24 hours of the end of a storm.
  • Eighty-five (85) km of sidewalk are considered medium priority.  They are cleared when 4 cm of snow accumulates and within two days of the end of a storm.
  • Three hundred and thirty-five (335) km are cleared when 10 cm of snow accumulates and within four to five days of the end of a storm.

All sidewalks are currently being maintained to these standards.  A few years ago we surveyed residents, and 73% of residents were satisfied with the current sidewalk snow removal service.

So why aren’t our sidewalks completely cleared of snow and ice by the City?

The service we can provide has limitations.  We can do the heavy lifting with our machines but cannot deliver the same standard as manually shovelling sidewalks.

We also work to thresholds (i.e. when 4 cm or 10 cm of snow has accumulated depending on the priority of the street). So we don’t deploy our people and equipment with every snow fall.

When ice forms, it is difficult for our equipment to remove it.  I had to take a shovel to my sidewalk to chip away at the ice. Sand and salt aren’t as effective on sidewalks as they are on roads where vehicle traffic works with the sand to clear the snow and ice.

The recent combination of ice and snow storms coupled with low temperatures has created ice conditions on our sidewalks that will need a sustained thaw by Mother Nature to deal with.

Make a Difference

So we ask that you be a good neighbour and shovel your sidewalk and clear the ice as best you can. During a heavy snowfall it can take the City up to five days to plow all of the sidewalks. Clearing the ice and snow from the sidewalk in front of your home or business will make it safer for everyone. Keeping sidewalks free of snow and ice is important for everyone’s safety, particularly the elderly, children and people with disabilities. Be a good neighbour and help clear snow and ice for seniors and for those with special needs.

“Be nice, treat the ice!” Sand is available free of charge at 50 Municipal Street.

We are also very fortunate to be able to partner with the Volunteer Centre on the coordination of the Snow Angels program.  This program matches volunteers with people who need assistance clearing snow.  Guelph is known nationally for our volunteerism and this program is a great example of that in action.

, , ,

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

Connect with the City of Guelph

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

5 Comments on “Sidewalks in winter”

  1. Mahesh Bhavnagariya Says:

    I would like to draw your attention on side walk to mail box at Curzon Crescent and Towell drive. It’s so icy and it is really dangerous for elderly person to get the mail. Road to the mail box is even worst with huge chunks of ice and snow piled up by city snow mower.

  2. ksulliva Says:

    Thank you Mahesh. I have forwarded this to so that Public Works is aware of it.

    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

  3. Laura Says:

    I walk to the bus every morning from Palmer/Metcalfe area to Guelph Central Station. There are no bus stops near my house that go directly downtown, so this is the most efficient way for me to get to work on time.

    The hill on Grange that curves is very icy as well as steep, and I often worry that when approaching the sharp turn I will slip into the road and into oncoming traffic. Once or twice I have slipped into the road, but luckily there were no cars. If there had been cars, they would not have seen me until it was too late. The sidewalk down that hill is incredibly narrow as well, and there is no boulevard to protect pedestrians from falling into the street. On garbage collection days (Thursday evening to Friday afternoon.) This is especially dangerous, because pedestrians have to walk on the road around the garbage bins that take up the sidewalk.

    I would like to recommend either making snow and ice removal happen sooner than it does, or installing some kind of railing for pedestrians.

    Thanks for your time. 🙂

  4. ksulliva Says:

    Hi Laura,
    I have forwarded your comment to Public Works at so they are aware that the Grange hill needs attention.

    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

  5. Laura Says:

    Thank you so much for the forward, and also for the incredibly timely response. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: