Snow Canada

ny_snow.jpgSome American friends of mine have been complaining about the weather recently. Apparently it’s been pretty cold outside their centrally heated apartments—the worst February in fact since 1989, officially, and no doubt the trip from the front-door to the car has been particularly hairy.

Forgive me my sarcasm though, for I really have no right to be self-rightious here in mild all year round New Zealand, where winter is summer only with more rain, and some wear shorts 365 days, and while roofs may occasionally fly through the air, snow is something we go to mountains to ski upon, but otherwise never see.

Still, I can not help wondering what Canadians are saying about (a-boot) the weather at the moment. I realise they pride themselves on being polite, and stoic, and would probably freeze to death before making a nuisance of themselves, but if there is one thing certain in life it is that if it is cold in the United States, it is really cold in Canada. With cold being something of an understatement…

As one who spent only a single winter in Canada, but a very memorable one, I can recall the following…

  • Getting to stay home from school when the wind chill factor reached -60, but never before then
  • Being thrown outside by the teachers every lunchtime, who would then lock the doors for a full hour so we had to stay there. We only got to be inside if the weather approached the conditions of the previous point (blizzards, ice storms), and we had somehow still made it to school that day in spite of. I think the teachers must have drawn straws each day to decide who was going to police the outdoor playground—whoever was“on patrol” never looked terribly happy about it, and although snow fights were banned, they were pretty easy to engage in due to the general absence of adult supervision
  • The wind whistling through my clothes as though I wasn’t wearing any
  • Snow drifts reguarly as high as cars, and the locals saying “Oh, eh, this is nothing eh, last year the army had to dig us out eh, when the snow drifts reached the top of the lamp-posts eh… Eh!”
  • Going ice-skating on“fields,” not just lakes, when in“Spring” the snow began to melt a little and then refreeze as ice. That was actually rather fun.
  • Not being able to stay indoors and watch good television, because you lived so far away from anywhere you only got the CBC. This was probably a good thing now that I think about it…

Which is why I suspect America’s long-suffering northern neighbours, probably in the grip of something 20 or 30 degrees colder than anything currently falling from the sky south of the border, aren’t quite so sympathetic…

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