Layla’s Mixed Sorts

January 7, 2009

Canadian Winter

Filed under: Weather — laylanajia @ 6:58 pm

I have often heard the saying that goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. Well, that perhaps applies in a lot of places, but indeed not in Canada.

Coming back to Jordan, I can’t help but appreciate the weather here, particularly the winter. After a week of pretty chilly and rainy weather in Amman, the weather suddenly switched today to sunny and bright, a reminder of one of the things that I have come to appreciate about where I live, and a reminder of what I did/do not appreciate: the brutal winter in Canada.

To anyone moving to Canada, moving in spring or summer would be a very smart idea. This will allow you to slowly transition to fall and then to winter. The selfish, mean Canadian winter. 

So how does it start? By the end of September, the skies slowly start changing from blue to gray, the fall’s leaves covering the grass suddenly turns from different displays of bright colors to dead brown. By early October, icy wind starts to howl loud, and before you know it, it’s snowing already! And that’s just how it starts; it grows worse and worse everyday: topsoil freezing to rock hard, pavements constantly slippery no matter how many times the snow is shoveled, snow up to a foot every day, rainfall(freezed) only occurs once every two weeks, wind speed average at 5 mphbone-stinging snowstorms and blizzards; snowflakes never fall slower than 2 feet per second, and each snowflake is at least as big as a quarter, until  finally, it decides to offer some mercy by mid April.

Now what clothing can equip you enough to resist that bad weather? Sure you can wear 3 pairs of gloves, 3-4 sweaters under your thick warm jacket, 2 warm pants, ear muffs, the right boots…etc. But if you stay out in the cold for more than 20 minutes, your fingers, feet and face will literally hurt and might even start bleeding from the pain. Even if you are wearing the right boots, the white racing wind will smack you and push you to fall, your skin will dry you will crack and become itchy. You might get frostbites; freezing branches might fall on you anytime if you’re passing under a tree or a ceiling. Takes you ages to get to school/work or go shop for groceries, or if you get there at all. Not to mention helplessly and endlessly scraping ice off cars and walks and drives.

So, bad clothing? No one dares. But bad weather? Oh yes!

I realize that I have given the impression that I’m not a fan of cold weather. I am, but only to a logical extreme. I have only lived 14 months in Canada, and experienced the winter there only once. 2008 was recorded as the worse winter in Canada in the last 60 years. In short, I’m excused ;).

However, I love it only between storms, storms are cozy only when you’re at home in a weekend and don’t have to walk or drive to your destination, especially at night after a whole day in school or work. But when its all crystal white and quite outside, that’s when I love coming out, the snow gets crusty and crunching underfoot, squirrels starts creeping out, red cardinals and morning doves everywhere. You can start shoveling at ease, go ice fishing, sliding, skating, and ofcourse, skiing, which is one of Canada’s biggest tourist draws, particularly Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta if you’re in the east. And if you like deep downhill skiing, BC is definitely the destination for you, it is full of ski resorts and breathtaking scenery of various towering ranges of the Rocky Mountains, simply beautiful.

What else about Canadian winter? People. Naturally, they talk about the weather all the time. You don’t need to tune into the weather channel, go on with your day as it is and you can guarantee that you’ll hear an update every minute, even if you don’t ask for it. You would think that perhaps at least the original Canadians got used to it and its not a big of a deal for them anymore, but it always is. However, the difference between them and Canadians with different backgrounds, especially the new immigrants, is their attitude. They are positive no mater what, and they go skiing every chance they get, they all either play hockey or go watch it. The rest, are affected by the fewer hours of sunlight, darkness and storms gets them down, though people who have spouses and families usually do not get as depressed, and winter won’t feel as long.

So what happens when it all ends? Just like the cold suddenly started, It will end just as sudden. Following seasons will treat you so good you will forget all about the winter, spring: suddenly all green everywhere again, flowers blooming and butterflies swarming all around you, you can finally hear people outside again and kids playing. Summer: so hot with hot rainfall at times. Fall: the best, leaves turn magnificent colors, beautiful wet smell everywhere, honking Canadian geese on their way migrating south, and ofcourse, the famous fall Canadian apple pie. It all sweeps you away like a reward for surviving the winter, yet also an incentive to prepare you for yet another harsh winter to come. 

 Theres so much more I can talk about when it comes to Canadian winter, businesses in winter, their brilliant commercials: especially beer commercials, funny beaver stories, their great lakes, Niagara fall in the winter, their Rockies…etc, but the post is getting too long already, perhaps in another post sometime. 🙂

 This doesnt mean there was a day off! 

The ‘Sunshine’ Ski Resort in Alberta, the Canadian Rockies

Hotel De Glace in Quebec, inspired by the Swedish Ice Hotel

Freezing branches

Canadian Winter Dogs

Famous winter Canadian Pumkin Pie


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