Grounds Department

Bicycles and Rollerblades | Winter Weather | Playing Fields |Places to Walk, Cycle, Eat | Sculpture and Art on Campus

If you notice a hazardous situation, including slippery surfaces, please call 416-978-3000 during regular business hours and 416-978-2323 after hours, on weekends and holidays.

Soft and Hard Landscaping

Sidewalks & Curbs
To ensure year-round safety to University of Toronto Faculty , Staff and Students, our 16 km of sidewalks, 6 km of walkways, and all curbs within the campus are regularly monitored and maintained.

Fences, Signs, Garden & Street Furniture
Grounds Services constructs, repairs and maintains fences, signs and waste receptables on the downtown Campus. Maintenance includes removal of bills and graffiti and changing of waste receptacles.

Flower Beds
A combination of perennials and annuals are planted and maintained. Each year Grounds Services ensures a colourful, vibrant campus. Convocation ceremonies climax our spring burst of annual plantings.

Shrubs, Trees & Turf
Carefully manicured throughout the spring and summer, the arboretum is enjoyed and critiqued by the campus community and guests. We appreciate and encourage your comments.

Spring produces a myriad of activities from the familiar front campus re-seeding to planting of annuals.

The St. George Campus has three naturalization projects used for pedagogical purposes:

1) Carolinian Forest – North of Russell St., between Huron St. and Spadina Ave.

2) Boreal Forest – South of Forestry Dept., 33 Willcocks

3) Zoowoods – South of Zoology Bldg, north of Sidney Smith Bldg

Grounds Services were instrumental in assisting to originate these projects.

Winter Weather Response Plan

Grounds Services is responsible for maintaining walkways, pathways and sidewalks fronting University Properties on the St. George campus. We are required to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks around our properties according to Municipal bylaws. For latest update, go to main UofT website,

Below is our Winter Weather Response Plan for winter weather events.

Snow Removal Procedures

Property Owners are required to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks around their properties within 12 hours after a snowfall, freezing rain or hail, and to keep them clear.

For Snow falls of 5 cm or more:

Grounds Manager is notified by U of T police as early as possible (approximately 2 AM). Grounds Supervisor is notified and the staff are called in to begin clearing snow as early as 5:00 AM. If there is considerably more snow than 5 cm, the staff will be called in earlier than 5:00 AM

Once on site the snow is cleared in the following priority:

  • Sidewalks, pathways and U of T roadways
  • Building entranceways, accessibility ramps, stairs and approaches
  • Emergency exits

Initially a pathway of approximately 4’ is cleared on walkways and stairs and approaches.  The sidewalks and paths are cleared to a maximum width of 5’.  Once the initial clearing is done, the crews will follow up and widen the paths.  Typically, the snow on walkways and approaches will be cleared by an additional foot or two in width, depending on the site conditions, the sidewalks will be cleared again and the stairways will be cleared of an additional foot or two where conditions permit.  In certain locations, such as Sidney Smith Hall, a second set of stairs will be cleared and opened for use.  In all cases the staff will always clear a path adjacent to the handrail and clear a wider area for use.

Accessibility ramps are cleared completely and deiced such that they can be used easily. Emergency exits are cleared to allow easy egress from the building in the event of an emergency.

Faculty staff and students can expect the snow to be cleared by 9:00 AM

For Snow falls less than 5 cm:

In the event of a snow fall of 5 cm or less, all of the above procedures apply however Grounds Services will normally not come in early.  All areas can be cleared and deiced prior to 9:00 AM when it snows 5 cm or less.


The two main de-icers used on campus are Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) and Sodium Chloride (rock salt). Grounds Services strives to minimize the use of salt for environmental reasons, to reduce corrosion and to avoid tracking salt into buildings. However, when surfaces become slippery, a de-icer will be applied to all footpaths, walkways and stairs.

U of T Transportation Services looks after snow and ice removal for parking lots and internal roads. Call 978-PARK (7275) for service.

Playing Fields

The Grounds Department is responsible for the year-round maintenance of Front and Back Campus, and Aura Lee Playing Field. Regular maintenance includes top-dressing, fertilizing, watering and aerating.

  • Front Campus and Back Campus
    suitable for all types of sports activities, these fields can be under repair from late March until late May.
  • Aura Lee Playing Field: Robert Street between Sussex and Bloor St.

If you notice a hazardous situation, including slippery surfaces, please call 416-978-3000 during regular business hours and 416-978-2323 after hours, on weekends and holidays.

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