Canada, Hard Mode

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We had a nice fall season in Ontario. With temperatures between 5ºC and 15ºC, most Canadians agreed that the weather was “just amazing” while I reluctantly had to admit that I “wasn’t completely freezing yet”. Until last week, one of my neighbours was grilling steaks on a BBQ on his driveway and it was common to see people walking around in shorts and t-shirt.

Then, last Sunday, we had a dramatic change of weather—and scenery. The “extreme weather warning” issued by our messiah, The all-almighty Weather Network, was not a joke. Yet, until the night before, it felt surreal.

Snow. Fucking snow. And not just a cute little snow shower like the warning we had in October, but a 24-hour snowfall with frigid wind blowing from the Arctic.

And just like that, winter has arrived. The roads are icy, the sidewalks are slushy and the mailbox is frozen. By Canadian standards, it wasn’t a major dump of snow—15-20 cm at most. Yet, it’s the end of a season and the beginning of a new one.

“It’s great for the Christmas spirit!” I heard some people say. Oh sure, I get it, snow is picturesque. The problem is—well, my problem is—this is not a one-time thing. This snow isn’t going to melt, winter isn’t going anywhere. This is life for the next… oh, you know what, I’m not even going to count the months until spring.

I hate winter. Maybe I could appreciate it if I was sitting by a fireplace, sipping a mug of hot chocolate. But it’s hard to enjoy the slush, icy sidewalks, windy streets and unplowed sidewalks when you have to go places and do the usual daily chores.

I already found the days busy and tiring. With the sunset at 4:30 p.m. and the cold that drains all my energy, it feels like the game is set on hard mode.

Alright, thanks for reading my whiny rant. My gift to you: winter wonderland in pictures. You can see the complete set of fall in Ottawa on Flickr.

Frozen gutter

Frozen gutter

Snowy fir tree

Snowy fir tree

Snowy road

Snowy road

Snowy road

Snowy road

Low clouds, dark sky around 4:00 p.m.

Low clouds, dark sky around 4:00 p.m.

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Bird nest, no longer hidden in the foliage

Bird nest, no longer hidden in the foliage

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

The leaf fall left behind

The leaf fall left behind

Icicles on an Ontario plate

Icicles on an Ontario plate

Signs flagging a house that signed up for a snow shoveling service

Signs flagging a house that signed up for a snow shoveling service

Woman shoveling snow

Woman shoveling snow

Icy road

Icy road

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

20 Comments

  1. We got a ton of snow here too… And I’m not ready for it either lol
    I do love it and find it so pretty. It’s great to go for walk and I’m looking forward to cross country skiing and sitting by the fire.
    BUT! I hate it when the slush turns into ice, and it doesn’t make for great driving conditions (understatement of the year).

    • Yes! Today was one of these slushy days, of boy… Tiens, chère modeuse, what kind of shoes do you wear for the winter when you have to go out (i.e. not office shoes)?

      • I have a pair of leather like moto boots that have a thick grippy sole that I wear when there isn’t too much snow. And I have 2 pairs of (cutish) snow boots that I otherwise wear when it’s so bad I don’t have a choice (Sorel are the best). And I take nice shoes with me to change when I get to the office 🙂

  2. Hey, yeah, I left Deep River monday morning under the snow, and it was from bad to very bad up to Ottawa (more than 3 hours to do 180 km). But after that, not too much trouble on the road up to Grand Sault, NB where I was able to get monday evening.
    The late sunset in Ontario is particularly annoying because I had an oversize load, and cannot, theorically, drive at night. And just going East made me lose driving time.
    However, there is no snow at all in Toronto, now.

    • Hey, Deep River! I know this place! Very well, actually. Feng’s parents lived there for a long time, we had one great weekend there a few years ago (without my in-laws, mind you, they were in Ottawa… which is why we ended up in Deep River…). Restaurants were surprisingly fancy for such a small place.

      Are you ever going to stop in Ottawa and have a damn coffee with me???

      • Stopping in Ottawa is pretty damn difficult, and I didn’t have time, I delivered the next day near Halifax, and I reloaded near Toronto.
        To take a coffee, are you mobile? Maybe next time l’lI come in the area. Could be next year or next month. And I don’t drink coffee.

        • I know, I know… I don’t expect you to park in the driveway. I’m in the suburbs though, and I’m relatively mobile. Maybe not to Deep River, but I know a few truck stops around here, including a big one close to Algonquin College.

          I also know you aren’t super social 😉 Neither am I, but you’re one of the few people I’d be curious to meet in person. Hey, you have my number if you ever come around and have time!

          • I’ll try next time. I’ve never seen there was a few parking spots on a PetroCanada, on 1400 Windmill Lane, Gloucester. Is that far from where you can go?

  3. I love winter, and I love snow. And I also know I would hate it it it would last 4-5 months a year. It’s just too long for me to take it! 🙁 I wish you luck…

  4. Yeah. It was a surprise, we were not expecting it to happen so soon. I’d taken to driving and I was really not ready as a driver; it’s kinda scary to drive on snowy roads (as a newbie), and today’s Freezing Rain 🙁 However, it is here

    So at the weekend we tried our first embrace, we went to Gatineau Park for a hike; the trail at O’brien Beach was covered decently with snow and it was magical to hike over there. After a few minutes of walking, we were warm and just loved it.

    Pros & Cons, right 🙂

    • Driving during the winter is tough, even for Canadians. You’re brave!

      I’m surprised to hear that Gatineau Park is still open. I thought the trails were closed during the winter?

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