You Know it’s Way Too Cold When…

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Temperature in Ottawa on Wednesday January 23, 2013

Temperature in Ottawa on Wednesday January 23, 2013

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.

Of course, since I’m now a true Canadian, I then proceeded on going out for a walk, as usual. I bundled up well: winter coat, gloves, a scarf covering my mouth and nose, and I was just fine.

Okay, my nose was very red when I got home and it took me five minutes to feel my fingers again. And a hot shower to warm up.

But I can brag about it. “Oh yeah, bit chilly today… meh, went for a walk.”

Seriously, you know it’s too cold—even for Canada—when:

1)      You can’t spot a single person wearing shorts and t-shirt. Yes, believe it or not, there is always a Canadian somewhere who is rocking the shorts and t-shirt look when temperatures are hovering around zero degree. When you see Canadians wearing thick winter jackets, you know it’s actually cold.

2)      If you take off your gloves for just a couple of seconds—say, to find your keys in your bag—your fingers instantly become numb and painful.

3)      Your hair freezes. And so do your tears.

4)      The mailbox is frozen shut. Feel free to ignore the bills inside, after all, you did try to pry it open with the keys, right?

5)      Even the rabbits and the squirrels outside look cold. And the guy walking his huskies on the bike path behind our place mentioned his dogs didn’t want to go out because of the cold—I mean, we are talking huskies here, a dog breed that originated in north-eastern Siberia!

6)      The touch screen on your iPod Nano doesn’t respond (may also be caused by frozen fingers—see point #2).

7)      If the temperature gets any colder, it won’t show on the thermometer.

8)      There is a lineup at the Flight Center outlet in the mall. It screams “get-me-out-of-frozen-hell-fast”.

9)      You consider wearing another pair of socks on top of the two pairs you are already wearing.

10)   You can’t leave the groceries in the car because they may freeze.

Someone please, make winter go away!


About Author

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


  1. Wow, -30 C! I am not sure I even experienced that when I was in Buffalo. Maybe I have, but perhaps don’t remember it right now. I guess the lowest temperature I do remember was when I landed in Stuttgart February of last year, and it was -15 C. Walking outside, it felt like every breath just froze the insides of my nostrils.

    Keep warm, and stay inside! Hopefully the temperatures go up a little bit in a few days!

  2. This is my first winter, so you can imagine! Although it hasn´t been that cold here in Mississauga, I´ve definitely experienced what you mentioned about the frozen fingers and the unresponsive touch screen. The last time I had to go out to pick up my daughter at the bus stop I just gave up and left my smartphone at home (useless with this cold, anyway).
    But all in all, I’m doing great with my first Canadian Winter. I just can´t wait for spring…no… summer! XD
    Keep warm! And a big hug to Baby Mark!

    • Okay, I have bad news for you: there is no spring in Canada. Seriously. It goes from freezing to very hot just like that! 😆

      It’s not usually that cold though, and it probably won’t last. It gets better, I promise! Keep warm meanwhile 🙂

  3. J’adore le froid, même le froid extrême, je crois que c’est ce qui me manque le plus ! Le climat change vraiment, avant, à Lyon, on avait facilement une dizaine de jours sous -10°C, maintenant… ça a duré 3 jours… Mais je prends toujours un immense plaisir à me couvrir, c’est vivifiant ! Et les gens qui disent qu’ils ont froid, béh… ça m’énerve, surtout quand tu vois comment ils sont habillés !
    ps : les canadiens en short… c’est clair, vous êtes fous !
    pps : j’avais vraiment le cerveau trop congelé pour écrire en english

    • Ah oui, c’est… ahem… vivifiant!

      Mais elle est folle 😆

      J’adore la chaleur, donc je me suis un peu gourée de pays. M’enfin il fait très chaud l’été, ça compense. Là c’est chiant quand le froid complique tout et est douleureux, genre être dehors est une torture.

    • Yes, but Paris can be awfully damp, so you have the right to complain. Beside, complaining is a very French thing to do. You are adapting!

  4. And to think that we’ve been shivering in Paris and it’s only -2! That said, I actually really like the cold, as long as I’m wrapped up for it and as long as it’s not wet too, so I quite fancy experiencing Canadian winter.

  5. Yeah it’s pretty frickin’ cold! When I was walking to the bus stop my eyelashes were freezing together!

    The next time I hear someone say that they “love” this weather and we should all stop complaining, I may just smack them! LOL

  6. Hi Zhu,
    Everything seems to be relative to one’s experiences and where it is said to be cold. When I was growing up in Hawaii, the times the temps dipped into the 60’s or lower 50’s on some colder mornings/evenings,teeth would be chattering. That’s nothing for a Canadian!

  7. Great list! After our ‘winter that never was’ last year I really wanted to experience a proper Canadian winter and I am sooooo over that now! especially after the hairs up my nose froze in the 5 seconds it took me to put the recycling out last week!

Leave A Reply