Last weekend’s ice storm was no joke. It scared me. Freezing rain creates an amazing scenery. Freezing rain causes accidents and damages. Lovely, but deadly.
Browsing: Canadian Winter
As a Canadian abroad, you’re just responsible for introducing people to cities other than Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto and you’re only expected to speak of winter.
The entire table of respectable federal government employees started sharing winter misery stories punctuated by unbleeped expletives. This blew my mind.
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.
It’s this time of the year again, when I stare at the snow piles left behind and angrily mutter “melt, melt, MELT!”
So, it is winter yet? Well, here is a handy checklist to determine how screwed we are… ahem, I mean to find out.
Snow is pretty. Unpractical, but pretty. Unfortunately, a picturesque winter dreamland scenery “ages” as well as your average Disney teen pop star.
It’s been consistently cold since we came back. I get it, it’s February, I don’t…
Here are three winter skills every Canadian should master, inspired by a banana, gloves and a walk in the cold.
Just a few years ago, on the first snowfall of the season, I would have taken dozens of pictures. I briefly considered snapping shots of yellow leaves on snow and bare trees in black and white but I couldn’t bring myself to, mostly because the article I had in mind would have contained way too many expletives to describe my feelings about early winter.
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.
Since Halloween, the retail world has switched into winter mode. The buzzwords are “soft”, “cozy”, “warm”, “layers” and “outerwear”—said Old Navy even has a “cold-weather accessories” category… that’s Canada for you!
Here are a few products that should make your winter more enjoyable. None of them are sponsored links; just brands that I found worked well for me. Do share your favourite tips and brands in the comments!
Most Canadians keep a shovel in the garage, and it’s not to build sandcastles, but to shovel the snow. A single snowstorm can bring ten, twenty, thirty of more centimeters of snow and it can make getting out of the house a challenge.
On one of these cold days (- 25°C with wind-chill), we headed to the Rideau Canal. The “world’s largest skating rink” is one of Ottawa’s most famous landmarks, and with a cleared length of 7.8 kilometres, it’s a huge frozen playground for skating enthusiasts.
I’m terrible when it comes to wearing gloves. Doing so is common sense: the wind can be extremely cold and winter weather is generally dry. But I always seem to need my bare hands and I hate taking the gloves off and putting them back a
I was lucky to be home when the snowfall started, and bundled up like a snowman, I took a long walk with my camera. I loved the colours (or lack thereof) and the fact the sky and the ground seemed to blend perfectly. It was worth getting my hair frozen!
Ottawa has the best ice sculpture and the Rideau Canal to skate, but Winterlude in Gatineau, Quebec, is also a great playground for some winter fun. Although it no longer has the huge snow sculptures competition, a few impressive bas-reliefs are carved at the bottom of the main attraction: the giant snow/ice slides.
On the opening day and despite the very chilly wind, Confederation Park and the nearby portion of the Rideau Canal were packed. Confederation Park always has a nice collection of ice sculptures: small ones around the fountain and bigger ones around the park. You can even see sculptors, wearing thick gloves, at work with chainsaws and other power tools.
We came back to Canada just in time to take a peek at the 2011 edition of the Winterlude, our yearly winter festival. This was Winterlude’s last week-end and even though some ice sculptures partially melted because of a warmer weather spell last week, the crowd was here.
Coming back from the tropics reminded me how harsh winter in Canada can be, and how hard it can be to adapt to this unique challenge. Yet, because I’ve been living there for a few years, I’m prepared and within a few minutes of landing in Ottawa, I was wearing my full winter armour, complete with gloves and a hat.
During summer, days are long, humid and sunny and people make the most of it by engaging in as many outdoor activities as possible. But once a blanket of snow falls and the days get shorter, we all become hobbits. Suddenly, nothing is more appealing than a cup of hot chocolate, a movie and layers of clothes and blankets. People are less chatty and more reserved—like if the cold had drained all the energy from them and what little they have left was used to fight winter.
This weekend marks the end of the Winterlude festival (but sadly, not the end of winter yet). I found myself hanging around in Confederation park, where it all started a couple of weeks ago, thinking I will miss the ice sculptures.