Toronto endures record snowstorm - HISTORY
Year
1944

Toronto endures record snowstorm

The city of Toronto, Canada, is battered with its worst-ever snowfall on this day in 1944. Twenty-one people died as a result of the record storm, in which nearly 20 inches of snow fell in a single day.

The storm began hundreds of miles to the south near the Gulf of Mexico; it stalled after moving north over Toronto. In addition to the tremendous amount of snow, the winds from the storm were so high that visibility was reduced to nothing. The blizzard also created huge drifts that trapped people inside their homes. A streetcar on Queen Street was knocked over by the wind and snow, trapping 170 people and killing one person. All traffic and businesses in the city were shut down. Perhaps most importantly, as the storm took place during World War II, the city’s ammunition factory was forced to close.

Thirteen of the 21 storm-related deaths came as a result of heart attacks caused by overexertion as people shoveled snow to dig themselves out of their homes. The Toronto Daily Star‘s headline the next day was “Whole City Stopped as if by Giant Hand.” Mac’s, a famous restaurant at the University of Toronto, had to close for the first time in its history.

Although it is difficult to measure snowfall to assess records, this blizzard was certainly close to a single-day high. In the 1998-99 winter, Mt. Baker in northeastern Washington reported its own record high—a remarkable 1,140 inches of snow. This is believed to be the all-time high for seasonal snowfall.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Billionaire conman Bernard Madoff arrested

On this day in 2008, financier Bernard Madoff is arrested at his New York City apartment and charged with masterminding a long-running Ponzi scheme later estimated to involve around $65 billion, making it one of the biggest investment frauds in Wall Street history.Madoff, who was ...read more

UNICEF founded

In the aftermath of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organization to help provide relief and support to children living in countries devastated by the war.After the ...read more

Edward VIII abdicates

After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield ...read more

Germany declares war on the United States

On this day, Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.The bombing of Pearl Harbor surprised even Germany. Although Hitler had made an oral agreement with his Axis partner Japan that Germany would join a ...read more

Paratroopers depart South Vietnam

Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam.The unit was sent to Vietnam in February 1968 as an emergency measure in response to the Communist 1968 Tet Offensive. Landing at Chu Lai, the unit was attached to the 101st Airborne Division ...read more

Muhammad Ali vs. Trevor Berbick

On this day in 1981, the Jamaican boxer Trevor Berbick beat former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a unanimous 10-round decision, before a crowd of 10,000 at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau, the Bahamas.At the age of 39, Ali (born Cassius Clay) was attempting his ...read more

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is born

On this day in 1918, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is born in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia.Solzhenitsyn’s father, an artillery officer on the German front in World War I, died before Solzhenitsyn was born, and he was raised by his mother, a typist. He began writing as a child but ...read more

Tootsie actress Teri Garr born

On this day in 1944, the actress Teri Garr, who will rise to fame in Hollywood in the 1970s with such hit films as Oh, God! and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is born in Lakewood, Ohio.Garr was born into a show business family: Her father was a vaudeville performer and her ...read more

Federals occupy Fredericksburg

On this day in 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia.However, the occupation did not happen until three weeks after Burnside’s army ...read more

Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne

With war raging in Europe, conflict also reigns in the Far East between two traditional enemies, Japan and an internally-divided China. On December 11, 1915, the first president of the new Chinese republic, Yuan Shih-kai, who had come to power in the wake of revolution in 1911 ...read more