Giant snowbanks draw sightseers to North Mountain on Cabot Trail
The amount of snow on North Mountain in Cape Breton is drawing crowds, but it's also resulting in a lot of highway closures, at times cutting off one community from the next.
After the latest snowfall, Cape Breton looks more like the Arctic and there are sheer walls of the white stuff as you reach the top of North Mountain on the Cabot Trail.
For many, it's a photo opportunity not to be missed.
“They're taller than I am, that's for sure,” Jessica Martin said of the snowbanks. “It's crazy. I've never seen that before. And we do get a lot of snow in Montreal.”
Some banks tower four metres high, about the height of a typical office building.
CTV meteorologist Kalin Mitchell says the weather station at North Mountain is reporting 217 cm of snow on the ground.
The banks are so tall this early in winter because the heavy snow started way back in the fall.
“Winter arrived early on North Mountain, actually back in November,” said Kelly Deveaux.
“And we were looking at large accumulations of snow quite early in the season. Combine that with high winds, like we're experiencing today, visibility becomes reduced very, very quickly.”
Despite the efforts of cleanup crews, drifting snow has caused this section of the Cabot Trail to be closed several times already this winter.
That has cut off one community from the next.
“When the road is closed on North Mountain, we understand there are impacts,” Deveaux said.
“But when the visibility is so reduced that it poses a risk for the travelling public, and our crews, we are in a situation where we do have to close the road.”
Snowbanks exceed the tallest person in some places, and despite peoples' natural curiosities, Parks Canada says “safety first.”
They're reminding people not to climb these snowbanks and if you're going to pull over to take pictures to do it safely and legally.
“There's a couple of the snowbanks much taller than the car, that's for sure,” said Martin, who was visiting from Montreal. “And I've got a couple of good ones of the trees halfway up with snow.”
It’s a winter wonderland with some inconveniences, but still a sight to behold.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.