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Toronto’s Airport Back in Action Amid Deep Freeze

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Planes are landing again in Toronto after frigid temperatures shut Canada’s largest airport to arrivals this morning and disrupted public transit as a mass of cold air swept over North America.

Toronto Pearson International Airport said on Twitter the so-called ground stop had been lifted just after 10 a.m. and planes were clear to take off and land. Earlier, runways were closed to arriving planes as the cold froze equipment and endangered employees, according to the Twitter feed.

Temperatures plunged across the U.S. Midwest and the Great Lakes with temperatures in Toronto sinking to minus 23 Celsius (minus 9 degrees Fahrenheit), according to Environment Canada’s website. Chicago reached a new low of minus 27 Celsius yesterday, shattering records set in 1884 and 1998.

Canada’s largest city is still cleaning up debris from an ice storm that cut power to thousands over Christmas and brought down as much as 20 percent of the city’s tree canopy.

Air Canada canceled at least 44 departing flights as of 8:45 a.m. local time and WestJet Airlines Ltd. had at least 16 departing flights canceled, according to the airport’s website. Almost all flights arriving this morning had been canceled, according to information on Pearson’s website.

Twenty-nine incoming flights and 37 departing flights were canceled today at Montreal-Trudeau Airport, Stephanie Lepage, a spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. Most of the flights involved aircraft bound for or flying from Toronto, New York and Chicago, she said.

Streetcars Delayed

Billy Bishop Airport, which operates regional flights from an island off downtown Toronto, said on its Twitter feed that passengers should check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Toronto’s streetcars were delayed as air lines that drive brakes and doors were frozen, along with switches in rail yards, Brad Ross, a spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission, said on Twitter. Buses are running to make up for lost streetcar service, Ross said.

School buses were canceled while most schools remained open, the Toronto District School Board said on its website.

Temperatures below minus 10 Celsius are expected to continue through the day and into tomorrow, Environment Canada said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in Toronto at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jacqueline Thorpe at

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