It started snowing Tuesday night and we woke up to a shitload of snow on Wednesday. It’s beautiful, for sure—the scenery changed dramatically overnight. It has that perfect “Hollywood Christmas” feel. No wind, snow artistically stuck to trees, branches and poles, a picture-perfect white landscape.
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It will get cold, eventually. But for now, we are just hopping from one park to the other to play with the leaves and teach Mark how to walk. We don’t even have to go far into the wild, any small park—hell, even the supermarket’s parking lot!—has an amazing display of colours.
One of the questions my family asks me most often is: “But where do you put all that snow?”
Well, anywhere we can—on the lawn, on the side of the road, at the end of the driveway… The result is massive snow piles scattered in every neighborhood. They can get pretty high and it’s dangerous when they block part of the street, since you can’t see the traffic when you back off your driveway. They also block the drains and create floods everywhere.
We’ve been going through a very cold spell in Ottawa. I know, it’s January and this kind of weather is expected but I was still shocked when I read the temperature on the thermometer outside that morning: – 30°C.
And that is without the wind-chill factor.
A few days after the first massive Christmas snow storm, we had another winter weather spell: over 20 centimeters of snow fell on the city, adding to the 30 centimeters that were already on the ground. The result? Massive snow piles in the neighborhood, benches and patio fixtures disappearing under the fresh snow, unshoveled streets and sidewalks and blocked driveways. Just another day in Canada, basically.
Friday’s snow storm came and went and left behind a wonderful scenery: we woke up on the morning of Christmas Eve under a bright blue sunny sky. It was gorgeous, bits of ice and some snow had stuck to the trees and the streets were still all covered by a thick coat of snow.
Surprise surprise, the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 and we survived yet another predicted doomsday. Gee, what a letdown! That’s it, I’m not trusting the world ever again—it’s been crying wolf too many times.
The first morning in London, we went out wearing our usual summer outfit: shorts and t-shirts. We took the Tube to Victoria Station, and as soon as we stepped out of it, we were greeted by a torrential downpour. Welcome to London!
When it rains in Ottawa, it pours. And it has been pouring for almost a week non-stop now—blah weather, trust me. Umbrellas aren’t being terribly helpful because it’s flooded everywhere, and the wind is often too strong to hold the umbrella in the first place.
On Monday, I was publishing a photo article on “Early Spring in the Farm”, and I was joking about jinxing the nice weather. Well, looks like I did (sorry Ottawa!).
The weather has been very strange for the past few days. We had snow, blizzard, very strong winds, warmer temperatures, hail, drifting snow and then cold temperatures. This resulted in dirty snow banks and some slush.
I used to be very excited to see snow but the novelty ran out after two of three winters there. The first snowfall is often beautiful and it’s weird to see the city blanketed in white—the change of scenery is brutal, especially when it’s very cold and snow does stay on the ground. But Canada’s harsh winters can also be a pain, a hindrance to everyday life.
The other day was one of these blah days. I was soaked by the time I got home. I ditched my bag on the floor and grabbed the camera with my favourite prime lens for a quick photo shoot—I wasn’t going to get any wetter.
By the Experimental Farm, where we live, thunderstorms are always impressive, maybe because the farm is a flat empty space. The other day, it started raining even though it was sunny outside. A few minutes later, we spotted this beautiful double rainbow.
42ºC. Holy crap. Disclaimer: I didn’t take that picture (I was in my air-con cubicle…
We started to hear new noises around here. Birds chirping in the trees, the constant waterfall noise of water flowing in the drains and in the sewers, the “splotch splotch” sound when walking on soaked grass. The snow is melting fast, thanks to warmer temperatures. Nothing to get excited about though, it’s only about 3°C and the Northern wind is still cold. Yet, it’s a beginning. Winter is melting away.
Since I’m back to a 9-to-5 schedule, I take my week-ends rather seriously. Unfortunately, the powerful Canadian weather Gods conspired against me. It is March, really? Doesn’t feel like it. I know we skipped most of the winter but this doesn’t mean I wanted to experience it in March!
I don’t get Halloween. Even though some of the earliest Halloween traditions started in Europe, we didn’t celebrate it at all when I was a kid in France. It was primarily a North American tradition we knew about because of the U.S. horror movies. But about 15 years ago, Halloween saw a resurgence in popularity in France with the help of a huge marketing campaign led by major American companies such as McDonalds’, Eurodisney and Coke.
You heard me complaining about Canada’s extreme weather more than once, but to be honest, I enjoy it. First, you never get bored; second, it offers some great photography opportunities. Stormy skies, snowy mornings and rainy days are a chance to get some great shots. Yes, staying in is tempting as well… but you can always have your hot chocolate when you get back home!
In Ottawa, it doesn’t rain, it pours. You barely get any warning at all: one minute, the sky is grey and you feel a drop of water, the next one you are as soaked as if you had taken a shower. Similarly, thunderstorms can be quite impressive in the area: flash floods and power outages are not that rare. It’s part of our severe weather-prone country, I guess.
Just a few weeks ago, it was all ice and snow in Canada’s national capital. The weather had been mild by Canadian standards but we were still shoveling snow and wearing winter boots. We attended the Winterlude festival and we were skating (or eating beaver tails…) on the Rideau Canal.
And suddenly, it got warm. It surprised us all.
After the great freeze, we woke up to the great melt. The weather was a bit warmer and all the ice accumulated had started to melt.
Trees were literally shedding ice. Every blast of wind shook the tree limbs, coated in ice — it sounded like a wind chime. We were lucky: no power line snapped in our neighborhood.
We got a bad winter surprise today when we woke up to heavy freezing rain this morning. Yuck.
Freezing rain is pretty unique to very cold countries. When surface temperatures are below freezing, raindrops freeze upon impact with any object they encounter. The resulting ice accumulates to a thickness of several centimeters and it coats just about anything.
It was cold but nice yesterday night and for a second, I humored myself with the thought that Weather Canada could be wrong. Of course, it wasn’t. It never is. Weather is what Canadians predict best.
The wind was extremely strong this morning and I could barely keep my head up while waiting for the bus. Mind you, I had time to practice — it was 30 minutes late.