It has come to my attention that Canada is cold. Or, more to the point, people have needed to direct my attention to this fact – on numerous occasions. If I scour my generally addled brain for a distant memory of my first move to the Yukon, it’s filled with potentially dire warnings. “But – it’s cold there!” people would say in ominous, hushed tones. This always seemed strange, seeing as I moved from Eastern Ontario, which regularly suffered miserable amounts of snow and freezing rain.
Leap ahead a decade and a different gaggle of people warn me of how bitterly cold the wind can be in Saskatoon. I listened to their tales of temperature droppings without actually cracking a smile; after all, this seemed so familiar. Unless I was moving to Vancouver Island, I had already grasped the notion that every year – say around November-ish – it will get cold. I had also surmised that, until around March-ish, there will be some very miserably cold days.
I think we can all agree that our country gets cold in the winter. Telling me I shouldn’t go somewhere in Canada because it suffers from months of temperature droppage seems a little silly, no? I can’t really complain; we are a weather-obsessed people. How many of you check the weather as part of your usual routine, first thing in the morning? This, of course, forms the entire basis of your daily chit-chat; for what other topic can we naturally fall upon to kick-start a conversation? It’s the great equalizer of any awkwardness – when in doubt, complain about the cold. It’s entirely Canadian of us to complain about the cold, as much as we like to identify ourselves by it.
People from other countries think igloos, hockey and frosty mugs of beer, when they think Canada. On a global scale, the Canadian brand is tied intimately with images of snow and ice; and on that front, it seems like a good thing. Only after the guests have gone do we get into the real kvetching and moaning. Not only that, but if you do a lot of travelling through our nation, you’ll find many a game of “weather one-upmanship”.
Every part of the country has a literally bone-chilling tale to tell. From gale-force sleet, in the Maritimes, to thick ice fog coming off the Great Lakes and even to the Northern minus-50-style deep-freezes we all know and love. You may insert the dry, cold/humid cold arguments in here if you like. I’m not going to bother. Being in Florida for a month gave me the perspective to see that cold is cold, and past a certain point you just have to realize that all of Canada has a bitter winter tale to tell. Maybe barring the aforementioned Vancouver Island … I hear it’s quite lovely there. But, then again, someone told me Telegraph Creek, down the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, has the most-wonderful, temperate climate you can find.
I say we just bundle up more and complain less. Winter is a fact of our lives and gives us something to do with our Crazy Carpets. Worse comes to worse, I can recommend you a lovely brewpub in South Florida to visit.